Sky lantern sparks fire at Nestlé plant in Trenton

Nestle Sign at plant in Trenton
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A sky lantern was determined to be the cause of a fire at the Nestlé plant in Trenton on April 25, according to Trenton Fire Department Lieutenant, Derek Hert, the fire caused moderate damage to a small section of the roof.

Upon arrival, firefighters observed no smoke. Employees alerted the firefighters that the fire was inside the plant. Firefighters deployed 200 feet of a one-and-three-quarter-inch attack line inside the plant to the location indicated by the employees. Hert noted that no fire was visible, as employees had used a garden hose to douse the flames.

Hert stated that firefighters were then informed of a fire on the roof. Using a ladder truck, they accessed the roof, where the fire had already been extinguished by employees with a garden hose.

A thermal imaging camera was employed to check for any fire extension, but none was found.

There were no injuries reported.

Hert reported that the Missouri Division of Fire Safety Investigation Unit conducted a cause and origin investigation. The investigation revealed that a sky lantern had landed on the roof, and embers from the lantern smoldered until they ignited a portion of the roof.

Hert described sky lanterns as “extremely flammable and dangerous.” He explained that the lanterns could reach heights of up to 1,000 to 1,500 feet, burn for 20 to 40 minutes, and drift in the air for several miles. If a lantern falls to the ground or onto a structure while it is still burning, it can start a fire on a home or vegetation.

According to Trenton city ordinance, it is unlawful for anyone to discharge a sky lantern within city limits. A sky lantern is defined as any type of balloon that requires fire underneath it to propel it.

The Trenton Fire Department received assistance from the Grundy County Rural Fire Protection District, the Trenton Police Department, Grundy County Ambulance, Trenton Municipal Utilities, and the Missouri Division of Fire Safety Investigation Unit.

Trenton firefighters were at the scene for approximately three hours.

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