Bed bugs bite Lakeland fire fighters, infest dorm

It’s uncertain how the station got infested with the bugs but Hartzog said it’s likely to have been brought back to the station from an environment in which the firefighters responded.

LAKELAND, FL (WFLA)- The Lakeland Fire Department is tackling an emergency like they’ve never seen. On Sunday, two firefighters got bit by bed-bugs that found their way in to Station 4 on Brunnell Parkway. Now, the department-wide cleanup and protection process is underway.

Assistant Chief of Administration Rick Hartzog told News Channel 8 that as soon as administration was alerted, the affected firefighters were relocated to a different fire station nearby. Station 4 firefighters have been housed out of Station 7 near the airport since and are expected to be back in their permanent station on Friday when the fumigation process is completed.

But the department is taking the protection process a step further. Besides fumigating the affected station, the dorms there will be getting all new mattresses and box-springs. Plus, protective mattress covers will be purchased for beds department-wide. “We are also doing inspections on all of our stations to make sure we don’t’ have any cross contamination,” Hartzog said.

It’s uncertain how the station got infested with the bugs but Hartzog said it’s likely to have been brought back to the station from an environment in which the firefighters responded. As much decontamination as they do on scenes, it’s not 100% fool-proof, he said. Hartzog added that the department nearly made it a century without a documented case of bedbugs. They’ve been around 99 and-a-half years.

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