Baltimore woman hires bed bug exterminator, returns to find home destroyed by fire

BALTIMORE (WBFF) — A woman whose Curtis Bay home was undergoing an extermination for bed bugs returned from the laundromat to find it destroyed by fire.

Smoke could be seen for miles and neighbors reported hearing a loud noise before the fire began late Monday morning.

“I heard an explosion,” Ashley Rheiner described. “Kind of like a cannonshot was what it sounded like, or maybe a car backfiring.”

Matthew Gilkeson said, “When I turned the corner, the whole place was up. It was that quick.”

One of the devices used to heat the home and kill bed bugs remained on an outdoor stairwell, where firefighters believe the blaze began.

“At this point, it is leaning toward accidental in nature,” Battalion Chief Dante Stewart said.

The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.

Homeowner Sharon Boxall stood outside, looking at the shell of her home, in shock over what occurred.

“This is just awful,” Boxall said. “I don’t even know where to start. My entire kids’ lives are in that house. Every picture. My grandmother’s jewelry.”

None of the four adults or two children who lived in the five bedroom residence were at home when the fire broke out.

Neighbors who arrived soon after the reported explosion did manage to pull two motorcycles from the side of the home.

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