Sky Lanterns Cause of Hotel Fire

Sky Lantern Incident

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ROCHESTER, MN — Safety officials are issuing a new warning after a fire started at a Rochester hotel.

Sky lanterns are said to be the cause of a small fire on the roof of the America’s Best Value Inn.

They are made of paper and are lifted into the sky by the hot air of an attached candle, but the lanterns can stay lit after they fall from the sky.

“Had some eyewitnesses not seen them land on there from the hotel next door, that could have been really bad. We could have had a major fire. As it was, they were able to put it out fairly easily and they really minimized the damage,” said Assistant Fire Marshal, Mike Bjoraker of the Rochester Fire Department.

Sky lanterns have been illegal in Minnesota since 2002 when the fireworks laws were reworked.

They are not illegal in Iowa, but some cities such as Des Moines have recently banned them.

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