The man explained to the fire authorities he accidentally set the home on fire when he tried to kill a spider on his laundry room wall which was trying to crawl inside it. By lighting the lighter and then spraying the flames with the spray paint can, he was able to create a long stream of fire so that he didn’t need to get close to the spider when he attempted to kill it. This, unfortunately, also caught the wall on fire. The man tried to put out the fire with water, but was unable to do it quickly enough, and it spread into the ceiling. At this point, the man gave up, exited the home and called the fire department. The fire department was able to eventually put out the blaze, but not before doing significant damage to both the structure and the contents inside.
Kyle Moore, a spokesperson for the Seattle fire Department, told KOMO news the following, “I don’t want to encourage people to do this, but that’s what he did. The spider tried to get into the wall. He sprayed flames on the wall, lit the wall on fire, and that extended up to the ceiling.”
Most people who find themselves in a similar situation use the smashing method. It’s simple, and usually effective. Find some object to use to smash the spider, such as the bottom of the shoe, a folded newspaper, or a flyswatter. In most instances this will dispatch the arachnid by crushing it to death. The downside to this method is the spider doesn’t always instantly die. It’s also possible to do slight damage to your wall’s paint job, or have a tiny mess to clean off of the furniture (even so, this would still be significantly less than $60,000 worth of damage from burning part of your house down.)
For those looking for the most humane way to kill a spider, Real Clear Science says it’s not to flush it down the toilet (it can take a spider as much as an hour to drown), but to freeze it. This is what they say to do:
“Catch the spider in an empty pill vial of appropriate size (or a baby-food-size jar), snap the cap on, and put it in the refrigerator freezer overnight. Getting cold is a normal experience of all spiders during winter, so it doesn’t seem cruel to knock them out by lowering their body temperature. The next day, pour enough rubbing alcohol in the container to submerge the frozen spider to insure that it will not recover from being frozen. The now dead spider and alcohol can then be poured into the toilet and flushed away.”
Of course, if you’re afraid enough of a spider to think that a home made flame thrower is the way to go to kill it, you probably won’t want a spider in your freezer overnight. The best solution is to capture the spider in a container, and then take it outside far enough away from your house that it won’t likely get back in, and set it free. The spider lives, never to bother you again, you don’t kill something that helps keep the bug populations in check, and your house doesn’t burn down — a winning situation for all involved.
(Photo courtesy of Krishna Santhanam)