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Twelve People Suffer Injury When Pest Extermination Foggers Cause Explosion and Fire

September 09, 2013

An explosion and fire caused by the dangerous mix of chemicals and an oven pilot light that was not turned off provides a cautionary tale for those who use foggers in their home to combat bug and insect infestations.  While many people use bug bombs to rid their home of ants, roaches and other household pests, they have become increasingly popular in the wake of the bed bug epidemic in many parts of the U.S. despite the fact the devices are not designed to exterminate bed bugs.  A recent accident in which the use of bug bombs caused a building fire and explosion serves as a warning that these devices can be dangerous under certain circumstances.

A New York City apartment was the site of a fiery explosion when the highly flammable chemicals of the foggers were exposed to the pilot light of an oven according to the information provided by the fire marshal to the New York Times.  According to the news report, the woman set off twenty foggers in one room and another twenty foggers in an adjacent room.  Although the chemicals emitted by foggers are highly flammable, the woman failed to extinguish the pilot light in the oven prior to using the foggers.  The blast was so intense that the explosion caused the building to partially collapse and ignited a fire that resulted in injury to twelve people with serious injury suffered by three people.

Based on the Times report, there were a number of issues that contributed to the fire and explosion.  Because the chemicals used in the fogger are highly flammable, a representative from the fire department told the Times that less is more when using foggers so the massive number set off together created a serious risk.  However, the building inspectors also reportedly indicated that the building contained illegal interior partitions.  While it is unclear whether these partitions inhibited evacuation of the building or the ability of fire department rescue workers to access the building, the building code violations could serve as a basis of liability if they delayed attempts to prevent injuries by delaying the building evacuation.

According to the article, there are approximately five hundred explosions or fires caused annually by the use of foggers based on government data.  There are currently over 150 fogger type products registered with the EPA.  A spokesman for the fire department says that some of the labels on foggers do not effectively communicate the degree of risk posed by the flammable nature of the foggers according to the article.  The spokesman for the fire department emphasized the importance of extinguishing all sources of possible ignition, such as pilot lights and cigarettes.  It is not even a good idea to leave light bulbs on when using foggers according to the spokesman.

In addition to injuries caused by fires resulting from the use of foggers, there are others who suffer injury caused by exposure to the chemicals in the fogger because they use too many foggers or do not allow enough time to pass before re-entering the building a city official told the Times.  If you are injured by a fogger or other product because the product has defects that cause injury or fail to provide adequate warnings, you may have a right to financial compensation for your injuries and property loss. 

Our experienced Atlanta personal injury attorneys at Montlick and Associates are available to provide effective legal representation to those throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.

No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333).  You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Personal Injury

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All information provided by our blogs is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Consult a Montlick attorney for details about your unique situation.