Man Fights Bedbugs With Fire, It Ends Poorly

Detroit guy recovering from burns
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 11, 2016 2:45 PM CST
Man Fights Bedbugs With Fire, It Ends Poorly
This bedbug just made a meal of human blood.   (AP Photo/University of Florida, File)

Maybe the old slumber send-off of "sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite" is due for an addendum … namely "and don't set yourself and your apartment building on fire." Case in point: A Detroit man was recovering from burns Friday after dousing himself and his couch with alcohol in an attempt to kill bedbugs, and then trying to light one of the critters on fire—and lighting a cigarette, the Detroit Free Press reports. The couch caught fire, as did the amateur exterminator, and the Jan. 3 blaze ultimately destroyed about four units in the eight-floor St Antoine Gardens apartments. The man—an unnamed 30-year-old, per FOX 2—was able to get down to the lobby, per the Free Press, and asked a witness to pray with him.

"He was melting," the witness says. "I was scared. He was screaming." Residents tell the Free Press that the building is infested with bedbugs. Despite exterminators coming twice a month, the man who started the fire had been complaining of the pests for four months, a resident says. In response to the fire, residents say management, which declined to talk to reporters, turned away the Red Cross (which later provided cots and blankets) and instead passed out pizza, coffee, and donuts. Many residents remain in the building despite the damage. "It's extremely disappointing," says one. The city, per FOX, has launched an investigation to determine if the building is livable. "Those people can't stay in that situation very long," a rep says. According to ServiceMaster last week, Detroit leads the nation in bedbugs. (More bedbugs stories.)

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