Man Sets Home on Fire While Trying to Kill Bed Bugs

A homeowner and four firefighters are recovering after investigators say he accidentally set his own house on fire while trying to kill bed bugs.

Police say the unidentified man was using a space heater, hair dryer and a heat gun to kill bed bugs inside his home on Penn Street in Woodbury, New Jersey. Heat guns are often used to strip paint off woodwork. They can reach temperatures, on average, of 1,000 degrees.

While doing this, police say he accidentally set fire to the second floor of his home.

The fire started around noon and firefighters were able to put the flames down soon after they arrived.

The firefighters were called back to the scene around 5:15 p.m. however after the fire rekindled. 

Between both blazes, the homeowner and four firefighters suffered minor injuries.

The Gloucester County Fire Marshal’s Office ruled the blaze as accidental, according to county spokeswoman Deborah Sellitto.

Bed bugs are tiny, flat insects that feed only on the blood of humans and animals. And they do it while you're sleeping. The biggest bed bugs grow to be the size of Lincoln's head on a penny, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

They are not considered dangerous, but some people can suffer from serious allergic reactions. Mostly they're just annoying "because their presence may cause itching and loss of sleep," according to the CDC website.

The first sign of an infestation is often the bite marks a person finds on their face, neck, arms and other body parts. Bed bugs give off a sweet, musty odor and if you have them, you can usually find them in the folds of mattresses and sheets.

Of course there are safe ways to get rid of bed bugs if you discover that you have an infestation.

The New Jersey Health Department has several suggestions, but ultimately recommends that you hire a well-trained and licensed exterminator.

If you tackle the infestation on your own, health officials say cleaning objects with Borax cleaner may have some effect because many insects cannot tolerate acid. It is important to thoroughly clean objects to remove eggs which become glued in crevices.

Frequent vacuuming can remove a large number of bugs at one time, according to experts. Low humidity and dehydration also help because those conditions naturally kill insects.

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