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Small paper lantern sparks massive fire at UK recycling plant

John MccNaughton / West Midlands Fire Service via EPA

West Midland firefighters tackle a large blaze at a recycling plant called J & A Young, Dartmouth Road, Smethwick, England on July 1, 2013. More than 150 firefighters worked on the blaze involving 100,000 tons of plastic recycling material sending a plume of smoke is rising 6,000 feet into the air.

Darren Staples / Reuters

A woman covers her mouth as she looks at a fire at a recycling plant in Smethwick, central England on July 1, 2013.

LONDON — A very large fire started by a paper lantern has consumed more than 100,000 tons of plastic materials at a recycling facility in central England.

Fire services said Monday more than 200 firefighters fought the blaze near the city of Birmingham.

Officials said in a statement that a paper lantern was spotted on CCTV floating into the site before starting a fire among plastic bales.

Fire services said the smoke plume made by the fire was rising up to 6,000 feet and may affect air travel. Birmingham International Airport spokesman David Lavender said officials did not anticipate any disruption to flights. Nearby residents have been advised to keep their windows and doors closed as a precaution.

Officials said 11 firefighters were treated for various injuries. There were no reported injuries to the public.

-- The Associated Press

Darren Staples / Reuters

Smoke rises behind the Union Flag from a fire at a recycling plant in Smethwick, central England on July 1, 2013.

Matthew Cooper / AP

Smoke rises from a fire at a recycling plant in Smethwick, Birmingham, England on July 1, 2013.

More than 200 firefighters were trying to put out a large blaze at a plastics recycling plant in Smethwick, England. The fire, which started on Sunday, was sparked by a Chinese lantern that drifted into the facility.