Fire marshal: Effort to kill bed bugs led to fatal fire in Springfield

By  | 

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - A fire marshal says efforts to get rid of bed bugs led to a fire that killed a man in north Springfield on Tuesday night. The fire killed Michael Kessler, 52. A woman in the house suffered minor injuries and was treated at a hospital.

The fire started in the bedroom of a home in the 1600 block of North Golden Avenue. After the fire broke out, investigators say, Kessler ran back inside to try to save his pets. He did not make it back outside.

Springfield fire marshal Kevin Fox says Kessler had used a chemical to try to kill bed bugs earlier on Tuesday. When he saw a bug about 9 p.m., he tried to burn it, catching the bedding on fire. The chemical then became an accelerant that fueled the fire, making it worse.

After going back inside, Kessler might have been able to get out if one door on the home hadn't been blocked.

“Always have two exits out of a room. In this particular case, this front door on the other side of the porch here, that was sealed shut and so he didn't have the opportunity to exit that way if he had chosen to do so. He was found near that door but not right up against it. We believe he was trying to retrieve animals,” said Fox.

Relatives of the victims said Wednesday that three or four pets died in the fire. As much as we love our pets, the fire marshal said, people should never go back in a burning home for any reason.