Bed bugs invade a Lakeland fire station

LAKELAND, FLA. -- We've heard of bed bugs in hotels, dorms, and apartments; but this past Sunday they invaded a fire station.

You wouldn't know it, but a Fire Station is behind a black tent and that's because of bed bugs.

"In the middle of the night a couple of firefighters were getting bites from bed bugs," says Rick Hartzog Assistant Chief of the Lakeland Fire and Rescue.

Just like when they respond to emergencies, the department acted fast. Hartzog said, "We removed everything. All of their possessions, bunker gear, bedding, clothing, everything in the fire station," and then a tent went up. They hope the gas inside will kill all of the bed bugs.

Now the chief says that he's going to make sure this job is done right. Why? Because authorities say bed bugs can live up to seven months without feeding. The chief suspects his fire and rescue personnel might have picked up the bugs on an emergency call. "They enter a myriad of hazardous environments and atmospheres; which is an inherent part of the job.

The first responders were relocated to fire station #7. The chief says it has had a minimal effect on reaction time to calls, "It does increase our response times a little bit. By jumping on so quickly and getting them back in the house."


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