A woman in Topeka, Kansas, tried to kill a bug with a cigarette lighter. She wound up setting her apartment on fire, and forced an evacuation of the entire building and caused extensive damage.
Topeka Fire Marshall Mike Martin confirmed that the blaze, which caused 140,000 dollars in damages and the displacement of seventeen people, resulting from an occupant trying to kill a bug with a lighter.
Monique Quarles told the Topeka Capital-Journal that shortly before 3:45 Monday morning, her daughter Ausha Scott, and two year old granddaughter were on the third floor of their Fairlawn Green apartment complex.
In a video interview with the Capital-Journal, Quarles said her daughter alerted her to the bug. “I found the bug, picked the bug up and I put it in my hand and lit it on fire,” Quarles said.
She then decided to try this again when they saw a medium sized bug under their mattress, but her flip lighter “started sparking” and the box spring ended up in flames. And at first, they tried to put the fire out themselves. But as it spread, “I said, ‘Get out, get the baby, call 911.’ And that’s what we did,” Quarles said describing the scene. The mother and daughter said they started knocking on doors to alert their neighbors to get out.
She denied to comment on why she chose a lighter of all implements to kill the bug. Topeka Fire Department Battalion Chief Chris Herrera said two fire crews responded to the scene with “30-something” firefighters arriving in total.
Herrera said one resident was transported to the hospital for minor smoke inhalation. Later, a firefighter went to a local hospital after experiencing heat exhaustion.
He also said two or three cats were rescued and some had to receive oxygen.
If nothing else, this story will go down as to why you should hire a professional to deal with things like insect infestations instead of going after the bugs yourself.