Ambulance crew returns to Md. fire station after bed bug infestation
Volunteers cleaned the station, brought in an exterminator and treated the area with high temperatures to get rid of the bed bugs
GLEN BURNIE, Md. — There was something irritating in the living quarters at the Ferndale Fire Station.
It was bedbugs.
Anne Arundel County Fire Department officials moved its ambulance crew from the station on Broadview Boulevard for three weeks in June so the living quarters could be treated for an infestation of the biting insects.
Capt. Russ Davies, a spokesman for the department, said something like this happens about once a year in stations across the county.
"I can't tell you if the firefighters bring them in or if they come back from a call," he said.
Bedbugs bite people and animals, leaving an itchy, red mark that often is visible in lines on the skin. They usually disappear with time and are often treated with creams and antihistamines. Getting rid of them usually requires an exterminator.
Jay Olsen, chief of the Ferndale Volunteer Fire Company, notified the county June 7 that there was an infestation in the living quarters. The career day crew and the basic life support ambulance were moved to the Linthicum Fire Station so the area could be treated.
Davies said it's the same procedure when a station is undergoing renovations or construction. He said there was no known impact on the medical outcome of service calls caused by the shift of equipment last month.
John Long, president of the fire company, said the volunteers spent a few days cleaning the area and then brought in an exterminator who used a department-approved chemical. The treatment was repeated three times, but Long said a few bedbugs were still spotted in an inspection.
That meant heating the area to kill the remaining bugs was the next step.
"It was 155 degrees in there," Long said.
The high heat process was completed June 26 and the fire crew was moved back the next day.
The station hasn't been staffed 24-hours a day, seven days a week for about a decade. Two career firefighters work there Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Volunteers run the station when they can, notifying the county when they're able to take calls, Long said.
The Glen Burnie station is 1.7 miles away, Linthicum is 2.5 miles away, and then there are the Brooklyn Park and BWI Rescue & Fire stations. The national fire standard requires a fire station within five miles.
Long said the fire hall, a popular community event venue, was never affected by the bedbug problem.
A purse and jewelry bingo was held June 21 and a quarter auction is set for the first week of August, according to the events calendar.
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