SHEBOYGAN (WITI) -- A popular ritual at weddings and funerals may soon be banned in Sheboygan -- if the community's fire chief gets his wish.
They're a sight to be seen. Sky lanterns stay lit from a flaming fuel cell. They're easy to find and cheap too. It's that accessibility that has Sheboygan Fire Chief Michael Romas a bit on edge.
"One of my coworkers in city government sent me the flyer from Ace True Value and that was the first time that I was aware that people, individuals could come in off the street and purchase these lanterns -- and then without our knowledge or permission just send them up in the sky," said Romas.
Chief Romas said Sheboygan hasn't had a problem with the sky lanterns, but he says they are a potential fire hazard.
"It's totally unpredictable. You have fire floating in the sky. Winds can change, lanterns can end up in trees, they can. And this is, on launch, they can go into houses other areas," said Romas.
Romas wants to extinguish the possibility of a lantern lighting a fire before it's even ignited. That's why he is now pushing for the Common Council to pass an ordinance banning them.
"No sky lanterns or floating devices with fire on them will be allowed to be launched into the air inside the city limits of Sheboygan," said Romas.
The Public Protection and Safety Committee will give the idea a look next week -- before making a recommendation to the Common Council.
"I need to learn more about it. I do support my directors and our chiefs. They are the subject matter experts, so that's why I'm interested to see what the chief has to bring to us," Common Council Vice President Darryl Carlson said.
Romas says the lanterns need to be banned as soon as possible.
"We as a Fire Department and a city have to have control of something that could cause so much damage," Romas said.