Remember last week, when the boardinghouse/SRO hotel above the Tara Station Bar in Harrisburg was found to be infested — apparently by bed bugs — but in the two stories covering the case, WHPTV (CBS Channel 21) reporters refused to say the phrase “bed bugs”, referring instead to “bugs” and “insects?”
This was so, even though the attached videos showed what clearly appeared to be bed bugs crawling on a ceiling (speckled with what appeared to be bed bug fecal stains) and also crawling on a man’s shirt, and even though the same man showed them “bug bites” he had sustained? (Note: if you have an itchy bite mark and a bed bug is crawling on your shirt in broad daylight, entertaining a video crew, it’s probably a pretty safe bet you have bed bug bites.)
Well, we kind of figured that story wasn’t over.
Today, WGAL reports that the building was shut down by city code inspectors:
Police and fire companies are looking into possible bed bugs at a Harrisburg hotel. The chief of police said it is not healthy for anyone to stay the night.
Four city code inspectors were inside a small hotel owned by Wali Rentals LLC on Fourth and Chestnut streets Wednesday afternoon after they received a complaint about a bed bug problem.
Officials also closed a restaurant on the first floor of the building as a precaution.
Chief Charles Kellar said the inspectors themselves were infested with the bugs during their investigation. They were sent to Harrisburg Hospital to be decontaminated.
“One had a cuff, and she undid the cuff of her pants, and a lot came out of there. One guy said it looked like the walls were moving,” said Kellar.
(Notice how WGAL is referring to “possible bed bugs.”)
The residents were removed from the building:
Tenants were ushered through a mobile Haz-Mat shower unit to be decontaminated.
They were then taken to a local shelter and given a new set of clothing.
This is the second time we’ve heard of a HAZMAT shower being used to decontaminate residents who were asked to leave a bed bug-infested building. The first was in Jersey City last summer.
When fleeing a building where a code inspector could come out with “a lot of bugs” in a pants cuff, evacuees should be allowed to shower and change to fresh clothing and shoes. Precautions do need to be taken to avoid moving bed bugs to vehicles or to the evacuees’ next location.
But consensus in the comments on the Jersey City post was that a HAZMAT decontamination shower was overkill.
The hotel is getting three “exterminator treatments” (let’s hope that is enough to get rid of bed bugs in the building).
And apparently, the owner Wali Mohmand is still blaming tenants’ hygiene for bed bugs:
“I’m not their maid, they have to clean after themselves,” said Mohmand.
Sounds like CBS 21 News, the city code inspectors, and Mr. Mohmand still have a bit to learn about how bed bugs operate. They can infest any home, clean or dirty, cluttered or empty.
Oh, but wait, I forgot: first, someone in Harrisburg needs to actually verify that the “possible bed bugs” are, in fact, bed bugs.
Is that really so difficult?!?