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Not Only Are Bugs Gone, Home Is Too

October 09, 2002|From Associated Press

SANTA CRUZ — Charles Savoca was looking forward to ridding his house of termites, but he didn't realize the whole house would be gone as well.

Exterminators accidentally blew up Savoca's house Monday while using "thermagation"--an alternative to fumigation--to get rid of termites and ants.

For whole-house thermagation, a tarp is draped around the home. Propane heaters set up outside the house generate heat on the exterior walls and on the inside through portable duct systems. The temperature inside the house reaches 140 degrees to 150 degrees and the bugs are cooked to death.

It's typically an effective way to rid a house of bugs. But in Savoca's case, something went wrong. First one and then four or five other propane tanks blew up from the heat.

A raging fire took five air tankers, three helicopters and dozens of firefighters two hours to control. It devastated Savoca's home, leaving a blackened concrete slab.

"I hired them thinking they had the expertise to do this without burning my house down," Savoca said. "They sure exterminated my house."

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