Woman’s Attempt to Kill Bedbugs May Have Sparked Upper Darby Apartment Fire

The woman said the flames from her stove lit up rubbing alcohol that she had poured to try to kill the bedbugs

NBC10 Philadelphia | by Randy Gyllenhaal and Rudy Chinchilla | August 1, 2019

A fire that consumed an Upper Darby apartment and caused evacuations in the rest of the complex may have been sparked by a woman’s misguided attempt to get rid of bedbugs.

An elderly woman living on the fourth floor of the Elizabeth Manor Apartments complex told firefighters and NBC10 that it was she who accidentally caused the Thursday morning blaze after the flames from her stove set alight rubbing alcohol that she had poured as a way of getting rid of bedbugs.

Because the fire station is only a few blocks from the complex, firefighters were able to respond quickly, going door to door to tell people to evacuate as they extinguished the blaze, Upper Darby Township Fire Company Deputy Chief Peter Huf said.

“First-arriving companies were met with heavy fire showing out the top floor and window of the apartment and a report of people trapped,” he said.

Dozens of residents were temporarily displaced, but there were no reports of injuries. The fire was also contained mostly to just the woman’s unit, with some minor smoke damage to neighboring units, and residents were allowed back inside.

Fire investigators, however, were still working to determine whether or not the blaze really was caused by a bedbug extermination attempt gone wrong, Huf said.

 

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