Can you imagine being so tormented by a bug infestation that you would go to such lengths as dousing you and your apartment in alcohol, set fire to your apartment, and almost die from the ensuing fire just to get rid of them? I can kind of understand this method if the insects were giant hairy spiders. I mean, if that were the case, who knows what you might do…hell; I’d want a blowtorch in that situation. However, in this woman’s case the insects responsible were teeny tiny bedbugs. It’s amazing the kind of terror and emotional trauma these little critters can inflict on people.
Sherry Young moved into an apartment unit on the west side of Detroit, which she was placed in by Travelers Aid after living homeless for a time. After moving in, she began to notice marks popping up on her body, but simply chalked it up to a normal acne breakout. But, the marks didn’t disappear and began multiplying, covering almost her entire body. When she saw what she thought might be a bedbug, which her neighbor had just been dealing with in the apartment next to her, she called Travelers Aid and they sent in an exterminator to get rid of them with a treatment that was supposed to be good for keeping bedbugs dead and gone for six months. When she started getting bites again mere weeks later, someone from the apartment complex then also called in an exterminator, which also didn’t work.
Young began to become desperate when the bugs would just reappear soon after they were supposedly eradicated. She tried moving to a different unit, but another one wasn’t open. She tried running a steam machine all over her sheets, but the bedbugs would simply evade her by running onto the ceiling and then dropping down on her head when the coast was clear. With bedbugs all over her home, her body covered in bites (she was bathing twice a day at this point), and no hope in sight Young felt like she was in a horror movie. After living for a year with bedbugs, she was getting way beyond desperate.
Following advice from a neighbor, she decided to try using heat to force the bugs out, turning her stove and oven on to heat up the place while she slept in her car for one night. Young thought alcohol might also help, so she bought 20 bottles to use. Before entering her apartment after she had heated it up, Young doused her body in the rubbing alcohol, not realizing that the fumes would immediately cause a fire. “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.” When she opened the door, the house was a hot as a sauna and everything was hot to the touch. Young began dousing the floor with alcohol, but when she went to open another bottle after she had been pouring the alcohol close to the oven, she noticed the floor was on fire…right where she as standing, and so was she. The fire destroyed much of the apartment complex and even displaced some of her fellow residents, leaving them with no place to live. Young herself almost died from the burns, and was then also without a home. “I’m trying to get back to my life, and now these … bugs have taken all of my hopes and dreams and aspirations away,” she said between sobs. “I’m feeling desperate. I’m being tormented. I’m living in a nightmare.”
Have you or anyone you know ever experienced a bedbug infestation that was this bad? How did you or they handle the situation?