Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Holiday Balloons - The Fire In The Sky Sparks A Blaze On Christmas Eve
Exito's Distribution Center Is Destroyed By Holiday Balloons, After Bursting Into Flames
Exito's main Distribution Center, in the Las Vegas neighborhood, went up in flames on December 24, at about 10:30pm. The Distribution Center was the main hub for all the local Exito supermarkets in Antioquia.
Several fire stations were dispatched, Envigado, Medellin, La Estrella, Itagui, Sabeneta, and Bello. One-hundered and fifty firefighters, along with 11 firetrucks worked throughout the night to get the blaze under control. It is estimated that two-thirds of the building was completely destroyed by the blaze with no reported injuries.
Officials said the cause of the fire may have been... a balloon.
Yes, a balloon!
Several witnesses have reported to have seen two balloons falling from the sky and landing on the building. Several spectators rushed to put out the balloons. As they quickly put the first one out, the second balloon soon erupted into flames after crash landing atop Exito's Distribution Center.
These are not just any type of balloons. These are Colombian Holiday Balloons!
The balloons are what have been called, "a poor man's answer to a fireworks display." There is a fire lit inside these homemade holiday balloons. The entire balloon is illuminated as it floats throughout the night sky, drifting across the city. It is a very popular tradition in Colombia, especially around Christmas and New Years. The balloons are supposed to hang in the air until the flames burn out, but it is not always the case. This is not the first time the balloons have contributed to the distruction of a property after crashing down to earth.
I have to admit it looks pretty cool, but it may be a tradition that needs to be discontinued for the safety of all citizens. And sadly, hundreds of workers will be out of a job, especially during a time when everyone is supposed to be celebrating the holidays with their friends and families.
Check out the slide show below, to see a balloon as it is prepared to be released up into the night sky.