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Sky lantern blamed for near-miss in garden

Malvern Editorial 8th Jan, 2014 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

A MAN has told of his lucky escape after a sky lantern landed in his garden on New Year’s Eve a few feet away from flammable material.

David Hodson of Aston Drive in Poolbrook discovered the burned-out object when he opened the blinds of his conservatory last Wednesday (January 1).

He said the yellow lantern which was nearly a metre long and had black marks where the material had been scorched by the flame, must have been lit by revellers celebrating New Year’s Eve.

But Mr Hodson claimed a serious incident was narrowly avoided after it landed on a wooden ornamental bridge in the middle of his back garden less than ten feet away from several items which could have caught fire such as the polycarbonate roof of his conservatory, the asphalt roof of the shed and a plastic canvas seat cover.

He said: “From a fire hazard point of view they should be banned. I’m not against festivities but these go one step too far. What would have happened if one landed on a thatched roof.

“We know what these things have done recently and people continue to use them. Thankfully it was a damp night.

“The trouble is with the lanterns is you don’t know where they have come from, and there is no recourse for damage to your property.”

Mr Hodson informed Martin Lawrence, co-ordinator for Malvern Neighbourhood Watch, about the incident who called for the lanterns to be banned from being sold.

The decorations hit the headlines for the wrong reasons in 2013 after one set fire to a recycling plant in Birmingham causing £6 million of damage.

In November, 80 caravans were destroyed in another lantern related blaze near Tewkesbury which led to West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin is calling on the Department for the Environment to take action.

She said: “Chinese lanterns are posing a clear risk to property.

“I hope to raise this matter again and I hope that we will see a positive response from the Government.

“Most importantly I would look to event organisers to stop issuing these lanterns to guests which will be a huge step forward in reducing threats to livestock, people and property.”

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