Alcohol is a very flammable contact killer for bed bugs

January 11, 2016

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 […]

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Detroit tenant watched alcohol-sprayed floor ignite

November 5, 2015

This is an update from our story last night on the bed bug treatment-related fire in Detroit. The tenant who accidentally started the fire in Detroit on Tuesday has now spoken to journalists, offering a heartbreaking apology for her actions: According to Fox 2 News, the tenant had bed bugs for a whole year, and […]

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Bed bug treatment with smoke bomb destroys building in 3-alarm fire

November 5, 2015

A Detroit apartment building burned for five hours in a 3-alarm fire and five people were injured due to a tenant’s attempt to treat bed bugs with a smoke bomb (which the tenant then attempted to put out with a pillow, causing the fire), according to Fox News Detroit. According to the Fox News report, […]

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Attempted bed bug treatment with alcohol destroys Kentucky building, leaves 30 homeless

July 1, 2012

Another “do-it-yourself” attempt at bed bug eradication has ended in disaster. Two historic buildings in the village of Carlisle, Kentucky (population 1900) were destroyed by fire on Friday, June 29. Fifteen to thirty people (depending on source) have lost their home and all possessions. Based on news reports, some of the residents are elderly and/or […]

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Another Cincinnati DIY treatment results in a fire (and this time, $100K in damages)

August 9, 2011

FOX19 in Greater Cincinnati reports that yet another fire was started at home on Monday by someone trying to do their own bed bug treatment, in an apartment in Avondale, Ohio: The cause of the fire has been determined to be accidental after a tenant was trying to get rid of bed bugs in her […]

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Thermal treatment for bed bugs destroys home of two Cincinnati families

May 18, 2011

A thermal treatment for bed bugs has ended in sorrow. Two families were displaced when a two-family home in Carthage, Ohio caught fire during structural heat treatment. According to, Cincinnati Fire District Chief Glenn Coleman said one of the six [propane] heaters Tyree was using ignited carpet in a living room, a fire that […]

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Out of the frying pan and into the fire

January 25, 2011

UPI reports that another person has set their home on fire by attempting to self-treat for bed bugs (with rubbing alcohol) while smoking. This time it happened in Mount Carmel, Ohio, in a rented home. Here’s a similar story from January 2009 (Cincinnati), and another from October 2009 (Hamilton County). Q: What do these cases […]

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Bed bug-infested mattress set on fire by NYCHA cleaner

October 28, 2010

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 […]

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Heat treatment for bed bugs is not a Do It Yourself project

September 27, 2010

Although heat treatments can be effective for bed bugs, this is not a treatment method you can do yourself. A Lexington, Kentucky woman recently set her home on fire while trying to treat her home with heat to kill bed bugs. WKYT reports, Carol says they’ve called exterminators in before to no avail. So frustrated, […]

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Astoria fires caused by attempts to treat bed bugs with gasoline

December 21, 2009

The Queens Gazette reports that the NYC Fire Department has seen multiple incidents (in Astoria alone) of fires started after residents poured gasoline on mattresses to kill bed bugs. Some people with bed bugs even applied gasoline to themselves and their children. FDNY officials said several Astoria residents called 911 over the past few months […]

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Yet another person tries to self-treat for bed bugs and sets building on fire

October 13, 2009 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. […]

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Chicago’s 1909 “Crib Fire” which killed 50 men, may have been due to bed bugs

February 17, 2009

On January 20, 1909, fifty working men perished, after the structure they were living on caught fire. The “crib” was a wood-and-brick structure the men lived on for weeks at a time while building a brick-lined tunnel under the lake. They were paid $1-$2 a week and were mostly Irish immigrants. Historians think the fire […]

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