Fire Station Battles Bedbug Infestation
Thursday, May 26, 2011
DES MOINES, Iowa -- A fire
station in Des Moines has been dealing with bedbugs.
They are usually called on to put out a blaze in a burning
building, but at station number 4, firefighters had to call in for
help to stamp out a little problem of their own.
"One of the firefighters found what he thought was a bedbug. He
put it in a bag," said Fire Captain Steve Brown.
Firefighters brought in an expert, a bedbug dog to sniff them
"They found them in the captain's office, two chairs, in a
bedroom, four mattresses and stools in the day room," said
Firefighters work a 24-hour shift, practically living at the
station, and sleeping in beds others may share on other shifts.
They started using mattress covers and bagging their clothes.
Firefighters were worried about bringing the bugs back into their
Firefighters said they go into all kinds of homes and recently
were in one with bedbugs while on a medical call.
Rick Kozin, with the Polk County Health Department, said it's
not surprising to find bed bugs anywhere, since the tiny insects
"Wherever they can catch a ride on clothing, suitcase or
furniture, they take advantage of that," said Kozin.
An exterminator treated the fire station with extreme heat to
kill the bugs Tuesday. Meanwhile, the Polk County Bedbug Task Force
continues to meet about once a month to try to stamp out the pesky
"The number of calls at the health department -- we get about
one or two a week -- has stayed steady," said Kozin. "All of us
throughout the community are at some level of risk."