- Associated Press - Friday, November 6, 2015

DETROIT (AP) - A Detroit woman has apologized for a massive fire that she and authorities said was accidentally started by her efforts to eradicate bedbugs from her apartment.

Tuesday’s fire tore through Ramblewood Apartments, destroying the 48-unit complex. Sherry Young was injured along with four others, including three firefighters, the Detroit Free Press reported (https://on.freep.com/1LUEOmw ).

Young told the newspaper she had doused herself with rubbing alcohol before it was ignited by a stove and oven. She said she had turned on the stove and oven the previous day to heat up her apartment, on advice from a neighbor, as part of the effort to kill the bedbugs.

“I didn’t know that the fumes were so ignitable,” she said. “Had I known that, I would not have doused myself before going into the apartment.”

Young said she suspected the apartment had bedbugs in January and earlier efforts by an exterminator and an apartment complex employee failed. Speaking by phone from a hospital where she was being treated for burns, she said she was in a “state of torment” from the bedbugs.

“I’m so sorry,” she said, struggling to speak as she began sobbing. “I didn’t mean it. My neighbors … everybody’s displaced because of me.”

Young said she had slept in her car Monday night and doused herself with rubbing alcohol before walking into the apartment. When she went inside, the newspaper said, she started pouring rubbing alcohol on the floor and saw it ignite near the oven.

Of the injured firefighters, one had neck burns from a collapsing piece of the ceiling, and two others were treated for possible smoke inhalation. Displaced residents now are finding other places to live and the fire department said that the fire was accidental.

“There was no malicious intent there,” Fire Chief Charles Simms said.


Information from: Detroit Free Press, https://www.freep.com

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