Washington: A desperate man's anti-bedbug operation went horribly wrong in Detroit, leaving him hospitalised with serious burn injures and destroying four apartments, the latest incident in America's most bedbug-ridden city.
The man, who was not identified by authorities, was so overwhelmed by the bedbugs in his flat that he sprayed himself with alcohol and then tried to light one of them on fire, badly burning himself in the ensuing flames.
By the time the accidental fire was extinguished, about four other apartments had been destroyed by flames, and two dozen more were damaged, Detroit Free Press reported yesterday.
Then, he lit a cigarette and tried to light one of the budbugs on fire, igniting his couch and his body in the process, a spokesman for the mayor's office said.
Resident Phyllis Kuhn said that the displaced residents in the 120-unit building have not got much help because building management told the Red Cross "the situation was under control" when volunteers visited.
Building residents said the complex is riddled with bedbugs and resident Rolando Millender told the Detroit paper that he knows of seven people on his floor who previously filed complaints about the bugs.
This is not the first bedbug-related fire in Detroit in the past year.
In November, Sherry Young accidentally lit her apartment complex on fire when she turned on the stove and oven, left for a day and returned to douse herself and her floor with rubbing alcohol.
Five people were hospitalised and the building was declared a total loss.
Detroit was recently declared the most bedbug-ridden city in the country, according to data compiled by exterminating company Terminix.
Philadelphia came in number two for bedbugginess, followed by Cleveland and Los Angeles. Overall, bedbug populations in the US have grown since the 1990s, due to increased travel, pesticide bans and ignorance.