West Midlands Fire Service has released CCTV footage of the moment it believes a Chinese lantern floated into a recyling centre in Smethwick, starting a huge blaze. In the short clip, the object appears after 11 seconds from the right of the picture.
Calls by the Liberal Democrat president Tim Farron for a ban on Chinese lanterns have been played down by Downing Street, in the wake of the Smethwick fire.
"The actual number of fires caused by Chinese lanterns is very small," a No 10 spokesman said.
"It is important that we always ensure that there is a proportionate response to any event and we always look at safety matters and make sure they are kept at the top of our concerns."
The West Midlands Ambulance team has treated a total of 13 people, including 12 firefighters, at the scene of the recycling plant fire in Smethwick.
In total three people were taken to hospital after more than 50,000 tonnes of recycling material was set alight.
Briefings are expected to take place today on road closures surrounding the factory.
Liberal Democrat president Tim Farron has repeated calls for a ban on Chinese lanterns following the Smethwick fire.
The Cumbrian MP made calls for the lanterns to be banned in 2012, saying "these lanterns are a spectacular sight to enjoy but many don't realise the harm they can do".
I hope that Defra agree that after the Smethwick fire last night an urgent review of the into the use of sky lanterns is needed.
As we now have daylight, firefighting can be more assertive extinguishing remaining 10% of recycling material still alight #SmethwickFire
Firefighters are struggling to deal with a fire at a recycling plant in the Midlands which was started by a stray Chinese lantern.Read the full story ›
Vijith Randeniya, chief fire officer of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service said a Chinese fire lantern which sparked the fire in Smethwick has caused £6 million worth of damage.
We have a situation where a fire has started here, £6 million-worth of loss, started by one of these lanterns and that was eminently preventable.
We don't want to be party poopers and we know they are used in a lot of celebrations.
Fire investigators have established a Chinese lantern - captured on CCTV falling on to the site - was to blame for the fire, which at its height was being tackled by more than 200 firefighters.
Vijith Randeniya, chief fire officer of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service, said the brigade did not want to be "party poopers" but called for a debate on the use of lanterns for celebrations.
He said: "My forensics people have been here from the start and have reviewed CCTV and spoken to people and looked at the way the fire started and looking at the CCTV evidence, you can see a Chinese lantern floating gently, and then land and then eight minutes later you see the fire start."
West Midlands Fire Brigade has released an image of a firefighter battling the blaze in Smethwick, which is now two thirds under control.
Firefighters are still battling to bring the Smethwick blaze under control amid the devastation, with some standing on the remains of burnt recycled material to hose down the fire.