ST. CHARLES, Mo. – St. Charles resident Chris Howle believes a floating lantern with a lit candle is to blame for damage to her backyard pool.
She said she believed the lantern landed at her pool after being released from a nearby remembrance ceremony in April. The pool cover caught fire and left behind extensive damage.
Howle’s husband used a hose to extinguish the fire and found the remains of the floating lantern by the pool. Neighbors reported witnessing several floating lanterns sail by homes in the Covington neighborhood the day the fire was reported.
“I’m sure the people lighting it off did not do it intentionally to burn up my pool,” Howle said.
She’s warning others about what happened in hopes of preventing future damage, injury, or even death.
Some families use floating lanterns with candles to pay tribute to loved ones. They are released and travel toward the sky the same way a hot air balloon rises.
St. Charles City Deputy Fire Chief Steve Brown said fire codes prohibit the use of the lanterns. He warns that they can lead to danger.
“Once you let them go, there’s no control over them,” Brown said. “You don’t know where they’re going to land or where their final destination is going to be.”
Howle considers her family fortunate, even though there is extensive damage. She is grateful her house is still standing, and there were no injuries.
Howle has a message for anyone considering a floating lantern for a remembrance ceremony.
“Please don’t,” she said. “Because you don’t know where it’s going to land.”