Washington state man tries to kill spider with blowtorch, sets house ablaze

SEATTLE Wed Jul 16, 2014 6:52pm EDT

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SEATTLE (Reuters) - A Washington state man who tried to kill a spider using a makeshift blowtorch managed instead to set his house on fire, causing $60,000 worth of damage, Seattle fire officials said on Wednesday.

The man told investigators that he spotted a spider in the laundry room of his West Seattle rental home on Tuesday night and tried to kill it using a lighter and a can of spray paint, according to Seattle Fire Department spokesman Kyle Moore.

The spider crawled into a hole in the wall, and the man, who was not identified but was described as being in his 20s, followed it with the blowtorch, setting the room ablaze, Moore said.

The man attempted to throw water on the growing fire, but the flames spread quickly to the attic and tore through the roof. The blaze ripped through the home, causing $40,000 worth of damage to the building and another $20,000 of damage to the contents.

“There were giant clouds of smoke just pouring out of the windows,” neighbor Kaitlin Sharp told KIRO-TV.

Both the man and his mother, with whom he shared the rental home, have been displaced, authorities said. The man was not facing criminal charges and the fire was considered accidental, Moore said.

“He has to live with the fact that he set fire to the house he was living in,” Moore said, adding that it was unlikely the spider survived the blaze.

(Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Eric Beech)

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