A man has accidentally set himself and his Detroit apartment on fire while trying to kill bedbugs. The 30-year-old tenant sprayed rubbing alcohol on his couch and body at 4:30 a.m. last Sunday in a bid to eliminate the pests.
He then sat down and lit a cigarette, which he used to try to burn one of the critters. But the alcohol-soaked chair immediately caught fire.
The seat, his arm and the rest of his eighth-floor apartment at the St. Antoine Gardens complex in Midtown went up in flames. The man escaped the devastating blaze but suffered severe burns and was then rushed to a nearby hospital.
Johanahn Larsosa, another resident at the complex, saw the man in the lobby and prayed with him at his request before emergency crews arrived. “He was melting,” Larsosa told the Detroit Free Press. “I was scared. He was screaming.”
The injured man was taken to hospital, and he is now recovering.
Detroit firefighters helped evacuate the complex as poisonous smoke filled up its hallways, according to Fox 2 Detroit. The blaze reportedly spread to four other homes but was later put out. Two dozen more apartments also received severe water damage.
Further reports say the blaze left multiple residents in the 120-unit building, which mainly houses people on Section 8 assistance, displaced. Others are unable to take showers or cook in their apartments, and some tenants are sleeping on cots in the community room.
Millennia Housing Management (MHM), which manages the complex, said it was restoring the four fire-hit apartments and would clean the others up as soon as possible. A city inspector ruled ten units as uninhabitable. MHM said it was also working alongside the Red Cross to find temporary housing for other displaced tenants, per WXYZ.
Residents said the complex is infested with bedbugs, and multiple complaints regarding the issue had previously been filed, per the Detroit Free Press. MHM has not commented on those allegations.