Metallic balloons released into the air over Valentine's Day were responsible for power cuts to thousands of homes in Los Angeles last night, NBC Los Angeles reported.
At least 5,000 residences were out of power from late yesterday afternoon after balloons got tangled up in power lines, according to the L.A. Times.
“Metallic balloons look harmless, but there’s no way to overstate how dangerous they can be when released outside,” said Paul Jeske, Southern California Edison's director of corporate health and safety, in a statement to the newspaper.
The balloons are made out of mylar, a type of thin polyester, and then coated in metallic finish. The utility issued a safety advisory before Valentine's Day warning people to keep metallic balloons weighted down to avoid them flying into power lines, and telling people not to tie the balloons to wrists in case they come into contact with wires and cause electrocution. They said there were 924 "balloon outages" last year, up from the previous record of 712 in 2012, adding that there's usually a noticeable uptick in the number of these outages around Valentine's Day.
Power was returned to the 5,000 affected homes this morning, CBS Los Angeles reported.