Good luck ritual ends in disaster

A WISH lantern released on a summer night in Denia caused a 1,000-square metre fire in July 2013.

An investigating Denia judge has now finished his summary and handed his findings, evidence and statements to the Public Prosecutor who will decide whether the case should be shelved or go to trial.

Those responsible were seven relatives from Ireland and the United States who had dined that night in the Montgo villa where some of them were staying. 

Horrified to see the lantern’s naked flame set fire to pines and scrub on an adjoining property, they called the emergency services. Firemen eventually had the blaze under control but at one point police warned neighbours to be ready to evacuate their homes and the nearby Denia-Javea road was temporarily cut.

All seven were arrested and spent two nights in police cells before being charged and released.

They were much-affected and apologised for causing the near-disaster, a defence lawyer explained to the judge. In California where two of them lived it was common to release wish lanterns and they had no idea they were banned in Spain, they said.

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