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Cobleskill yards become landing spot for celebratory sky lanterns

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Updated: 8/19 10:57 pm

COBLESKILL, N.Y. – Several sky lanterns have landed in a Cobleskill man’s yard, and he wants more regulation of the celebratory lanterns.

Sky lanterns derive from Chinese tradition. Many people will light them for weddings or other celebrations. But when they landed in a quiet Cobleskill neighborhood, some people raised concerns the lanterns could be a serious fire hazard.

“Who’s the crazy that lit these things off,” Fredrick Dudash said.

For the past couple weeks, Dudash has woken up infuriated because he found sky lanterns scattered around his and his neighbors’ yards.

A candle or wax fuel cell is placed inside the paper-made lanterns. Once the fuel cell is lit, the lantern can travel for miles.

Dudash is afraid he will wake up one morning with his house on fire.

“The scary part of this is that if there is any type of down draft from the hills or anything like this, this could land right inside these woods right here,” he said.

Cobleskill Police Chief Rich Bialokowski said the lanterns could start wildfires. He also said they’re illegal under New York State Fire Code.

“If it’s determined where they came from, the code enforcement officer could issue a citation based on violation on the fire code,” he said.

But Dudash said a violation isn’t enough. Especially, he said, when he sees an open flame headed for his yard.

“When it came down, this particular one was still burning,” he described. “So this is what makes it so scary. This should be made illegal throughout the country.”

Bialkowski said if the lanterns caused property damage, or a serious fire, criminal charges could be filed.

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