LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — If you are one of the 3,000 people in Lansing or Delta Twp. who lost power yesterday, you won’t believe what caused the shutdown.

The culprit? A helium-filled mylar balloon that got caught on a power line on Waverly Rd., just south of Michigan Ave.

Mylar balloons are often externally covered with an aluminum coating, which conducts electricity.

According to the Lansing Board of Water and Lights, mylar balloons can cause fires and downed power lines.

Yesterday, the powerline in which the balloon got tangled caught on fire and broke in two, eventually making contact with the ground.

This incident, while rare, is a good reminder that mylar balloons can be hazardous if they get caught in a power line. We encourage area residents to be aware of these potential hazards and to avoid releasing mylar balloons outdoors, especially near power lines. Any time a live power line is down it creates a significant safety hazard both to the public and to BWL employees responding to the incident. Stay away from downed power lines and report them to BWL immediately so we can secure the area around the power line and get it repaired as quickly as possible.”

Dick Peffley, BWL General Manager

BWL has issued the following guidance for those using mylar balloons:

  • Keep balloons inside.
  • Metallic balloons should always be secured with weights.
  • Never attach metallic streamers to balloons.
  • Balloons should never be released outdoors.
  • When disposing of the balloons, puncture them to release the helium, which prevents them from flying away.
  • Do not try to retrieve balloons tangled in power lines or electrical equipment.