Another person has set their apartment building on fire in response to bed bugs. And this time, he was badly hurt.
According to Man trying to destroy bedbugs sets apartment ablaze in the Detroit Free Press, on Sunday at 4:30 am, a man in Detroit’s St. Antoine Gardens apartment complex (near Wayne State University) doused his couch and body with alcohol.
But then, while sitting on the alcohol-doused couch, the man lit a cigarette and also tried to set one of the bedbugs on fire, Austin said. That caused the couch to catch aflame, along with the man’s body.
Within minutes, Phyllis Waller heard shouts from her room just down the hall, on the building’s eighth floor. When she looked through the peephole, the smoke was so thick that she couldn’t see the door across the hall. She said she escaped by crawling to the stairwell.
The man who started the fire escaped as well, but his burns were severe. When resident Johanahn Larsosa saw him in the lobby, the skin on his arms seemed to be falling off. While they waited for help to arrive, the man got to his knees and asked Larsosa to pray with him.
This is a horrible situation. The man who started the fire has severe burns, four apartments were destroyed, and a dozen were damaged by water, according to the article.
There’s always someone who responds to such a situation with a comment on the victim’s poor choices — using alcohol to spray his person and the sofa, lighting a cigarette to top it off. Clearly, one might say, he is not thinking.
However, keep in mind this man has had bed bug treatments for four months, and has been treated weekly during this time. Eight treatments spaced 2 weeks apart is a sure sign the problem is not being handled thoroughly by management. The article also mentions that a 5th floor resident claims his floor has seven apartments with bed bugs.
Keep in mind that some people become very stressed and anxious (as opposed to just stressed and anxious) when dealing with bed bugs. Add the fact that it is 4:30 am and you may be dealing with someone who is very tired and upset, and desperate. We can’t know if there were other factors (mental illness, drugs, drinking alcohol, etc.)
We do know that desperate people do desperate things.
I hope this man recovers and I hope his neighbors get thorough bed bug treatment, and soon.
As for the DIYers reading this: 91% isopropyl alcohol is often touted as an effective contact killer for bed bugs. However, it should be used only sparingly if at all. It’s flammable and the fumes are probably not great for you either.
Alcohol shouldn’t be used if you smoke or light candles, obviously, and should never be sprayed on people (which isn’t a way to treat bed bugs anyway). But remember fires can also be started by sparking outlets or electronics, something that happens sometimes — and if it happens when you’ve treated with alcohol, it’s very dangerous.
Please be careful out there and consider safer options, like killing bed bugs with steam, where possible.
Image: public domain.