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

A large tank holding gasoline exploded in Goyang, Korea.

sky lantern fire
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)

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.

“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.

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 serious problems when fed to livestock. They are banned in most U.S. states and many countries.

Wildfire spreads across border from North Korea into South Korea

Strong winds swept a wildfire in North Korea across the heavily armed border with South Korea on Monday, prompting a suspension of cross-border movements into a jointly-run factory park in the North.

About 50 firefighters and three helicopters were battling the fire on the south side of the Demilitarised Zone border, according to an official at the South Korean border town of Paju, adding that there were no reports of casualties. Access to the area is usually restricted.