Pesticide pesters man, not roaches


WESTMINSTER, Calif. -- As Steven Tran closed the front door behind 25 pesticide bombs clustered on the floor, he thought he had seen the last cockroach waltz through his house.

Instead, Mr. Tran blasted his screen door into a yard across the street, blew out all of his windows, melted his brown carpet and set his furniture ablaze.

"I really wanted to kill all of them," Mr. Tran said after Saturday night's blast. "I thought if I use a lot more it lasts me longer."

No one was injured in the explosion and fire, which caused about $10,000 in damage to Mr. Tran's first-floor apartment, fire Capt. Craig Campbell said.

"He damn near blew himself up," said Captain Campbell, one of 16 firefighters who helped extinguish the blaze.

The noise was so loud that several neighbors scrambled to dial 911, thinking they had heard a gunshot or a bomb.

"It was a great big old boom. You could see blue flames shooting out of their house," said Helen Graham, 39, who lives across the street from Mr. Tran.

"Their screen door was over here on my fence. All the neighbors were in a daze," she said.

Captain Campbell said a pilot light or burning incense could have ignited propellants used to shoot the pesticide into the air.

Two canisters of the fumigant would have been plenty to solve Mr. Tran's roach problem, according to the product's label, Captain Campbell said.

Yesterday, bits of glass glistened across from his home.

And the cockroaches?

"Sunday, I saw them walking around," Mr. Tran said. "I feel bad; I spent a lot of money for that."

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