Man uses blowtorch on spider, burns house

Last updated 07:59 17/07/2014

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A US man who used a can of spray paint and a lighter as a makeshift blowtorch to kill a spider in his laundry room started a blaze that caused NZ$69,000 worth of damage.

The man and his mother got out of the house, and no injuries were reported in the fire that broke out in the West Seattle home, said Kyle Moore, a spokesman for the Seattle Fire Department.

Moore said the man used the spray paint and lighter as "a self-made blowtorch to kill a spider in the laundry room" of a rental house.

"I don't want to encourage people to do this, but that's what he did," Moore said. "The spider tried to get into the wall. He sprayed flames on the wall, lit the wall on fire, and that extended up to the ceiling."

Firefighters initially fought the fire from outside after someone reported hearing ammunition go off in the house. Crews eventually went inside the house after confirming from tenants that there was no ammunition inside.

The man initially tried to put water on the fire, but he wasn't able to put it out and the blaze quickly spread into the attic.

"There are safer, more effective ways to kill a spider than using fire," Moore said. "Fire is not the method to use to kill a spider."

The Red Cross is providing temporary shelter for the home's two residents, whom authorities have not identified.

As for the spider, Moore said: "I'm pretty sure the spider did not survive this fire. The whole wall went."

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- AP

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