Don’t try this at home!
The Daily News reported yesterday that Miriam Ortiz, a cleaner who works in the New York City Housing Authority’s Manhattanville houses has been charged with arson, after setting fire to a bed bug infested mattress.
This happened on the 10th floor of a 20-story building.
The Daily News noted that
She found the mattress in a partially-enclosed hallway on the 10th floor of a 20-story building on W. 126th St., used a lighter to ignite it, and fled.
“The fire … could have ended in tragedy but for the quick response of firefighters,” said Department of Investigation Commissioner Rose Gill Hearn, whose agency investigated.
Ortiz could have easily called an exterminator and workmen to dispose of the bed, a source said.
Thankfully, no one was hurt.
Not sure about this comment in the Daily News story, however:
Her bizarre action was rooted in her “fear of bedbugs and laziness,” a source said.
Since the alternative was to call the person who orders pest control treatment and a pair of workers to dispose of the mattress, I am not sure Ortiz saved much time or energy by putting her lighter to the mattress.
So I’d go with the “fear of bed bugs” explanation. Perhaps panic played a role as well.
It would be interesting to know if Ortiz had had training at work about bed bugs and what to do if they are found.
While many people are probably tempted to set things on fire and walk away, this is obviously dangerous, unnecessary, and a very bad idea.