Woman suffers burns after setting infested car ablaze

Jul 30, 2021

A 31-year-old Michigan woman was hospitalized with second-degree burns this week after attempting to exterminate bedbugs in her car. 

Oakland County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched at around 1:39 p.m. Tuesday in Pontiac, Michigan to assist with a vehicle fire.

The woman reportedly had a panic attack due to having bedbugs inside her vehicle, according to an incident report from Oakland County Sheriff. The woman decided to kill the bedbugs by pouring rubbing alcohol inside the vehicle and lighting it on fire.

In the process, she accidentally lit herself on fire. She was later hospitalized for treatment of second-degree burns. 

In 2016, a Detroit man accidentally lit his apartment on fire after dousing himself and his couch in alcohol, in an attempt to kill bedbugs. The fire destroyed about four units and led to water damage in two dozen others by the time it was extinguished. 

Another woman in Detroit set fire to her apartment in 2015, after her oven and stove ignited fumes from the alcohol she sprayed on herself and poured on her floors to try and kill the bugs. 

A live bedbug provided by Terminix crawls across a dime.

While bed bugs don’t carry diseases, their bites can cause itchy skin reactions. Signs of a bed bug infestation include living or dead bugs, empty skins shed during their life cycle, eggs and fecal stains or droppings.

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Health officials with Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services have advised vacuuming, washing surfaces and furniture with soap and water, steam cleaning and treatment with insecticides to remove bed bugs. They also encourage individuals to hire a pest management professional.

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