Local News

Chapel Hill Firefighters Issue Warning About Mosquito-Repelling Device

Posted June 20, 2002

— Chapel Hill firefighters are issuing a warning to consumers -- beware of propane-fueled equipment used to kill mosquitoes.

Firefighters said they have responded to at least two fires at homes where the products were used.

The cordoned-off house at 2416 Honeysuckle Drive appears to be intact, but a look around back reveals a gaping hole in the roof, a melted door, and the remnants of a charred home.

"I saw this fire with yellow sheets of fire rising above the house at the corner," said Donald Forman, who lives across the street.

Forman said the house seemed to explode.

"What I saw was the fire, which raged through the center of the house and through the roof of the house," he said.

Chapel Hill firefighters said in just over a month, two fires have had a common denominator.

"We've had several incidents involving mosquito attracting and repelling devices," said Rodney Watson, Chapel Hill assistant fire marshal.

Firefighters said both homes had a product called Mosquito Deleto, which claims to kill mosquitos by using low levels of carbon dioxide.

Firefighters said what makes the situation worse is that the weather has been so dry, there are lots of combustible materials lying around homes that can fuel a fire.

Firefighters warn consumers to use products only according to the manufacturers directions and to turn all devices off before leaving their home.

Firefighters said to make sure the products have a Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) or Factory Mutual seal. They are both good indications that the device has been tested for safety.

Coleman, the company that manufactures Mosquito Deleto, did not return WRAL's calls.


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