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Expert: Chinatown Building Explosion Shows Danger Of Bug Bombs

20 Bug Bombs Were Used In Building This Week, Officials Say
Fire crews respond to the scene of an apparent gas explosion in Chinatown, July 11, 2013. (credit: Peter Haskell/WCBS 880)

Fire crews respond to the scene of an apparent gas explosion in Chinatown, July 11, 2013. (credit: Peter Haskell/WCBS 880)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Fire officials said Saturday that a resident of the Chinatown building that partially collapsed from an explosion this week had set off two rounds of bug bombs – and also neglected to turn off a pilot light.

As WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported, the incident took place at 17 Pike St. near East Broadway on Thursday afternoon. The blast happened in a beauty salon in the rear of the building, 1010 WINS reported.

Fire officials said Saturday that a building resident had set off the bug bombs to battle an infestation, and they exploded in a devastating fashion.

Timothy Wong, technical director at M&M Pest Control, said it is a big problem. People use too many bug bombs at a time.

“Because they come so cheap, they feel the more you use, the more effective it is,” Wong said.

City fire officials said that was the case in the Chinatown explosion. Twenty canned bug bombs were allegedly used.

“And that’s extremely dangerous when you have that much of pesticides being released in one small space,” Wong said.

One city fire marshal told Smith that using more bug bombs is not any more effective. Pests can only be killed once, he said.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency even has a Web site dedicated to the safety of the devices, complete with animated videos.

“Always read the label first. Follow all instructions carefully,” the narration in one of the videos says.

But Wong said people do not read the labels, and do not realize that a little goes a long way.

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