Man burns down his house trying to get rid of skunks

By Ben Hooper Contact the Author   |  Feb. 23, 2018 at 2:38 PM
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Feb. 23 (UPI) -- A Michigan man attempting to use a smoke bomb to evict some skunks from the crawlspace of his home ended up lighting the house on fire, authorities said.

Ferndale Fire Chief Kevin P. Sullivan said firefighters were called to a home about 10:30 a.m. Monday after a resident attempted to use a smoke bomb to chase skunks out of the crawlspace in his house.

Sullivan said the flames had spread from the crawlspace to the first floor of the house by the time firefighters arrived.

"We suggest citizens hire pest control professionals, however if one is an absolute die-hard do-it-yourselfer, please read and understand the directions and warning labels before applying an incendiary [smoke bomb] to your home or garage," Sullivan told the Detroit Free Press.

Sullivan said the fire had been burning for about 15 minutes before the man called 911.

"Fire can double in size every 30 seconds at a slow rate. Doing basic math, he let the fire grow approximately 30 times the original size," Sullivan said. "Fire can double in size every 30 seconds at a slow rate. Doing basic math, he let the fire grow approximately 30 times the original size."

He said the fire eventually spread to the attic.

"The house was a complete loss, the occupant lost most [of] his possessions, the structure was severely damaged, fire burned through the floor and the roof, several access holes were cut to fully extinguish the fire," Sullivan said.

The ultimate fate of the skunks was unknown, but Sullivan said no carcasses were found at the scene.

The Ferndale man was not the first to have a pest control attempt go horribly wrong -- an Ohio man attempting to use rubbing alcohol to get rid of bedbugs infesting his couch accidentally sparked a fire with a cigarette.

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