Bed bugs can lead even the most sensible, level headed person to try the most preposterous extermination measures. One of two things usually happen when someone attempts DIY bed bug extermination: either they poison themselves and their family, or they start a fire. Using fire to fight bed bugs is Number 1 in my Top 10 Bad Ways to Get Rid of Bed Bugs. Want proof? There is ample evidence of bed bug fires getting out of control.
From the News (We are Not Making This Up!)
Two tenants in Indianapolis had been in a rental property for about three months when they spotted bed bugs on the furniture — three couches and two chairs. They moved the upholstered furniture outside and set it on fire. The blaze quickly spread to the house. Firefighters who contained the blaze estimate that this antic cost the landlord about $15,000.
A Phoenix, Arizona, man fed up with being bitten by bed bugs tried to spray the them with cologne (yes, he was drunk). When that didn’t work, he set the bedding on fire inside his apartment. When the fire got out of hand, he moved the sheets to his front porch. Firefighters contained the blaze and the man was arrested for arson.
Five people escaped a house fire in Columbus, Ohio after a teenager living inside the home spotted a bed bug on the couch and tried to use alcohol to kill it. His grandmother then tried to light the bug on fire, which lit the couch on fire. Two adults and three children made it out safely.
Danny W. Alcorn of Miamisburg, Ohio, was charged with aggravated arson, a second-degree felony after setting a couch on fire to rid it of bed bugs. He moved the couch to the yard between his residence and a store before setting it…and the store on fire.
A fire started in an apartment in Kalamazoo, Michigan when the tenant used a cigarette lighter to chase bed bugs. No one was injured and the blaze was contained to a bedroom, which sustained fire, smoke and water damage.
Finally, here’s a fire mishap that did not involve bed bugs, but was too comical to skip—
A fire that destroyed eight units at an apartment complex in Holland Township, Michigan, was sparked by a man using a propane torch to cook a squirrel for lunch. The man was on a deck on the third floor of the apartment building when he lit a torch to burn off the squirrel’s fur. The deck caught fire and flames spread to the roof and other parts of the building. Eight apartments were destroyed and two dozen other units were damaged by smoke and water.