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Friday, February 28, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Three firefighters hospitalized after encountering bug bombs in apartment

UPDATED: Wed., Jan. 16, 2019

Three Spokane Valley Fire Fighters were hospitalized Wednesday afternoon after being exposed to chemicals from bug bombs.

The firefighters were responding to a fire alarm around 1 p.m. at Central Park Condominiums near South Eastern Road and East Sixth Avenue. When firefighters arrived, they saw no fire or smoke, but saw an overturned wheelchair and crawled through a window to find if someone was in the apartment, said Greg Rodgers, spokesman for the Spokane Valley Fire Department.

Once inside, they smelled an odor and left to put on air packs, he said. They went back in and found no one. When they went outside again, they started feeling nauseous, so the incident commander upgraded the call to a hazmat call and the three firefighters were taken to a local hospital.

They went through treatment for exposure and were released from the hospital at about 3:30 p.m., Rodgers said.

The resident of the apartment, who wasn’t home and hadn’t been home since the bug bombs went off, set off three at once. They were intended for bed bugs and fleas. No one was able to make contact with the woman who lives in the apartment, Rodgers said.

Bud Lindsey witnessed firefighters enter the apartment.

“It was a noxious smell. It was a weird smell,” he said. “(Firefighters) started coughing and spitting a lot to get the flavor out of their mouths.”

Lindsey said no other neighbors could smell the chemicals, but a man was sleeping in an apartment next door and ran outside when he saw firefighters. His mother, who also lives in the apartment, was held back from entering before her son ran out. Lindsey said she was screaming orders to break a window to get her son out.

Lindsey said the son was unharmed.

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