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Police say sky lantern caused fire and explosion at oil storage facility

A large tank holding gasoline exploded in Goyang, Korea. Police detained a man in Goyang, Korea Monday for allegedly starting a fire that destroyed a tank holding 2.66 million liters of gasoline, enough to fill 250 tank trucks.

Goyang, Korea
Firefighters struggle to put out a massive blaze on Sunday after an oil tank exploded at a storage station in Goyang, Gyeonggi. [YONHAP]

These dangerous devices use burning material to loft a small paper or plastic hot air balloon into the air. The perpetrator has no control over where it lands. Usually, the fire goes out before it hits the ground, but not always. Sometimes the envelope catches fire while in flight. Numerous fires have been started by sky lanterns. Even if they don’t ignite a fire, they leave litter on the ground. Metal parts have been picked up by hay balers causing severe problems when fed to livestock. They are banned in most U.S. states and many countries.

skylantern
A police spokesperson speaks during a press conference Tuesday. Another officer is holding a sky lantern that police believe caused a fire at an oil storage facility. (Yonhap)

“Surveillance camera footage showed the fire started after the lantern landed on the grass,” a police official said. “We questioned people living around the area and confirmed the man launched the sky lantern.”

The police believe the sky lantern may have started the fire when it fell on the lawn of the oil storage facility, causing flames that later spread into the ventilation system of the oil tank, causing the explosion.