A RETIRED teacher had a lucky escape after a Chinese lantern burnt through her conservatory roof.
Firefighters said the house “could easily have gone up in flames” while she slept through the night time blaze.
Former Rhyl High School teacher Gwyneth Griffiths, 66, of Ewloe was in bed, unaware that a paper lantern had floated on top of her conservatory.
She awoke on Saturday morning to the smell of burnt plastic and found the room blackened by smoke.
“When I came down it was the smell of a burning pan handle,” she said.
“I turned around and I thought, it’s dark in there, but it was because it was all black in there.
“I thought it might have been a firework so I got in touch with the fire service.
“They sent a fire engine straight away and a fireman went up and the lantern was stuck in the apex.”
The lantern had melted a three foot hole in the roof and black soot covered the floor and walls of the conservatory.
Mrs Griffths said: “The fireman asked me “are you okay?” and I said ‘yes, yes I’m fine’, but when I looked down I was shaking.
“You don’t realise how much it can affect you. I just realised how lucky I was that all the doors were closed.
“The damage would have gone right through the downstairs.”
Mrs Griffiths, who has lived at her house for four years, called for stricter safety precautions to be followed when using the popular night sky illuminations.
Paul Whybro, community safety manager for North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said: “This lady was lucky as the incident could have been much more serious.
“The lantern burned through her conservatory whilst she was asleep at night and had been smouldering for some hours – it was pure luck that the hot wax fell onto the floor and did not set any furniture alight.
“Her home could easily have gone up in flames.