Fire sparks Chinese lanterns probe

02 Jul 2013

A massive fire which caused £6 million-worth of damage to a recycling centre has prompted calls for an urgent review into the use of Chinese lanterns.

Blaze investigators found that one of them caused around 100,000 tonnes of material to ignite at Jayplas recycling facility on an industrial estate in Smethwick, near Birmingham.

A Chinese lantern was caught on CCTV falling on to the site before over 200 firefighters tackled one of the region's biggest blazes in recent times.

The Chief Fire Officers' Association (CFOA), which had earlier called for a review of the floating paper lanterns' use, called for it to be brought forward urgently.

Vijith Randeniya, chief fire officer of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service, said: "We don't want to be party poopers." But he added that the fire was "eminently preventable".

The CFOA said it wants to look at the possibility of fire services working with councils, police and trading standards officers to discourage the lanterns' use.

Copyright Press Association 2013

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