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.
The Government has spent £25 000 on a report into sky lanterns which found they are a significant fire risk, may hamper search and rescue services, and could pose a danger to aeroplanes.
They also pose a risk to cattle that could be injured by them – yet the government has decided to do nothing. After the Smethwick fire, Ministers must look at this issue again.
West Midlands Fire Service said firefighters have reduced the blaze in Smethwick to a third its original size.
Our firefighters have now managed to get the #smethwickfire down to a third the size of what it was at its height. But still loads to do...
West Midlands Fire Service has called for an urgent review of the legislation regarding the use of "airborne fire lanterns".
There is evidence of them causing fires, wasting emergency services’ time, being mistaken for distress flares, misleading pilots and causing environmental damage.They also pose a risk to livestock, agriculture, camping activities, recycling sites and hazardous material sites.
The risk of further fires can only increase as the lanterns become more popular.
We do not support the use of these devices, and ask that members of the public and event organisers stop using them.
The brigade posted a statement on its website in response to what it described as "one of the biggest fires in its history in Smethwick, believed to have been started by a Chinese lantern at around 11pm last night.