A woman who was trying to burn a bug inside her apartment’s bedroom in US ended up in setting fire to the building which resulted in the evacuation of people from the building and an estimated USD 140,000 damage to the property.
The incident took place at an apartment complex in Topeka, Kansas, with Topeka Fire Marshal Mike Martin saying that an investigation determined the blaze occurred in the master bedroom of an apartment.
The cause was listed as being accidental, resulting from an “occupant trying to kill a bug with a lighter”, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported.
Ausha Scott said she was inside the apartment unit at the time of the fire with her mother, Monique Quarles, and 2-year-old child, Avionna Scott-Quarles.
Quarles said the blaze started on Monday after she tried to burn a bug that was found in the unit’s master bedroom with a flip-style lighter that malfunctioned.
Quarles said she had picked up the first bug, put it in her hand “and lit it on fire”.
She said she and her daughter then looked under the mattress to see if there were any other bugs. They then found what Quarles said was a “medium-sized bug”.
“When I grabbed the bug and I had it, I went to light it and then the lighter started sparking, so these sparks then went onto the box springs,” Quarles said. “The sparks just started flying on it and inside of it.”
The flames and heavy smoke led to the evacuation of the three-floor building.
By the time the smoke had cleared, Topeka Fire Department officials estimated USD 140,000 in damage had occurred.
No serious injuries were reported in the blaze.
Multiple fire companies responded to the two-alarm blaze and remained on the scene for about six hours, clearing the scene.
Quarles said her daughter saw the fire, then ran into the kitchen to get water to put it out.
“As she’s coming, I’m going. By the time I came back, I was really seeing fire in there, so I knew we really shouldn’t keep trying to put it out. I said, ‘Get out ? get the baby, call 911.’ And that’s what we did,” she said.
Authorities said everyone was out of the building by the time firefighters arrived on the scene.