BALLWIN, MO (KTVI)– A new item on sale this year at local fireworks stands has firefighters on edge. They are called sky lanterns.
Mike Krause is deputy chief at Metro West Fire Protection District, “They`re kind of emerging as a popular new thing.”
He showed us how they work, they are similar to small hot air balloons, an open flame keeps them aloft. Krause said, “It`s an uncontrolled flame and it`s at the whim of the currents of the winds.”
At night folks think they look beautiful but the problems they could cause are ugly. Krause said, ‘If it lands on a house or structure or something it could easily cause a fire.” People could be asleep inside the home and die.
The sky lanterns can travel miles in minutes. Fireworks stands in the area are now selling them, some for the first time. Although the flying lanterns are not technically fireworks there is a laundry list of safety warnings on the packaging. Krause added, “I don`t think there`s a predictability of where the flame might land.”
The parched earth also has firefighters and residents concerned. Kelly Massner has a lot of grass on her property, “We have a horse farm so for us that`s a big concern the grass is brown right no so I would be worried this year.”
Long time family favorites like sparklers could easily start a brush fire. Krause said, “They burn at 2000 degrees.” Sparklers can melt a child`s shoes or set a youngster`s clothes on fire causing second and third degree burns.
Firefighters encourage families to attend professional displays which can be much safer.