Cincinnati.com reports that fourteen people living in a Hamilton County, Ohio apartment building were displaced overnight by a fire caused by someone spraying alcohol-based pesticides while smoking:
Fire investigators have determined the blaze was started by a resident spraying for bed bugs while smoking, said Capt. Steve Conn, spokesman for the Colerain Township Fire Department.
“They were spraying for bed bugs, and it had alcohol in it,” Conn said. “One of the residents lit up a cigarette, and it basically flashed and started the room on fire.”
This is very dangerous, obviously, and it is a good thing no one was seriously injured, and that most of the residents have been able to return home.
This Hamilton County Public Health document (click for PDF) reminds residents who rent that
If you rent a home or apartment within Hamilton County (excluding cities of Cincinnati, Norwood, Sharonville or Springdale) and you think you have bed bugs, please contact the Hamilton County General Health District at (513) 946-7832. Health District sanitarians will work with your landlord to eliminate the problem.
Self-treating for bed bugs is often ineffective and can be dangerous, as this story reminds us. And this is not the first fire caused by attempts to get rid of bed bugs.
People in Hamilton County have other options for bed bug treatment; what about tenants and low-income homeowners living elsewhere who don’t?