Firefighters Checked For Plague, Truck Fumigated After Unusual House Call

WATERBURY, Conn. (CBS Connecticut) — Firefighters are used to dealing with threats from smoke and flames, dangerous footing or beams falling from above.  But Waterbury firefighters checking an abandoned building recently encountered a smaller —  but potentially deadly hazard.


Chief David Martin says Waterbury firefighters routinely check abandoned buildings for fire hazards, and when four fighters left after a check at 48 Taylor Street,   they “didn’t realize until they came out and got back on the engine that they were literally coated in fleas.”

“One of the guys described it as they had thousands of them, crawling on them. ”

The firefighters were taken to Waterbury hospital to be undressed, scrubbed down and checked for flea-borne diseases,  and the fire truck was professionally fumigated.

Chief Martin says all four firemen were fine and the engine was fine.  He says it’s “another lesson that we’ve learned,  another story to tell.”

But the chief adds that there is one thing he’s found in telling this particular story:  “Most people, as you start to talk to them about it –you may feel it right now — they tend to start getting a little itchy, and feel like there’s something crawling on them, just from the conversation.”

  • Steve

    How long until firefighters are required to wear flea collars now?

    • Another 5 letter word for fraud...OBAMA

  • rufus

    I bet the house belonged to democrats.

    • CONNECTICUT SSN 042-68-4425


    • Craigster

      Must have been blue dogs.

      • AC

        You mean Republicans?

  • Mark

    I videotape houses for sale and I’ve been in empty houses that used to have dogs and/or cats. My legs would be covered in fleas. A house that previously had pets and sits empty will have a nasty flea problem. The fleas are starving and the second a warm-blooded body walks inside, it’s feeding time.

    • Jason

      why not?
      Treat the house and they are gone

  • David Smith

    Why is this news?

    • Queenie

      Because YOU took the time to read it!

    • Spanky

      Because we are supposed to focus on stuff like this instead of the economy, jobs, terrorism, illegal immigration, etc.

      • Dave

        Oh it’s not illegal immigration anymore, didn’t you hear, at least until they commit a crime here. THEN we’ll review it and see IF they should leave.

        Like being here in the first place ISN’T a CRIME! Aaaaack!!!

      • Zanelle

        Okay lets focus on how much the ER visit cost… what test could you do for someone bit 1 hour ago by a few fleas? It can’t be in their blood stream yet…waste of tax payer’s money. Catch a few fleas and test them first.

      • bill

        Zanelle, you can test the bite site for viral or bacterial indicators, if a colony of fleas has a communicable disease, they most likely all have that disease

    • Renelda Moorehead

      This is prudent info to have. Thank you for the article.

  • Gloria

    What a bunch of Wusses!

  • fantum

    Was it the White House?

  • howard steinski

    Wusses. You’d think the firefighters had never been in a house with 14 flea-infested dogs before!

  • cindyfrancis

    I hope the city is billing the absent homeowner for both the fire inspection and the flea remediation, fumigation, medical tests, etc. In fact, the Fire fighters might want to sue the home owner for pain & suffering.

  • Norman Comeau

    Don’t guess it was an old flea bag hotel?

  • Dale

    The article says it was a potentially deadly hazard?? LOL . Death by fleas is not what I want on my epitath!

    • bill

      it wouldn”t be death by fleas on a headstone, it would be death by a blood sucking, pain in the #$@ that wasn’t his wife…

  • Constance

    What were the fleas feeding on in that house? That’s my question. I suspect larger and more frightening beasts on the loose in there.

    • Wendy

      I was thinking the same thing…why didn’t the reporter say anything???

  • ontie1

    Now we have to provide the fire deparmrnt personnel with tax paid flea collars?

  • Mark Carlton

    I encountered something like that in the mid-1980s at Vandenberg Air Force Base. A fellow officer and I were evaluating an onoccupied dorm, and before we knew it we were black with fleas about six inches up our legs. It was so bad, we noticed it despite our black shoes and dark blue uniform pants. We got out of the building ASAP and knocked off the fleas — no need to run to a hospital at taxpayer expense.


    […] (First column, 7th story, link) […]

  • Mike Alright

    So when will the baby-boomers see the effects of their generation turning a free nation into a feminized, non-free, police-state? Unfortunately, it may not happen in their lifetime (especially considering they currently run the go v & the po.).

  • bill

    yep, you are right… but a new nation will spring forth from the ashes like a phoenix…

  • james keefer

    When Lewis & Clark got to an island near the mouth of the Columbia river, they noticed that they could find old indian camp sites by the fleas they left behind. Appearently the indians would stay at a place until the fleas got too bad and then simply move.

  • knews5

    wow, lucky nurses; firemen are cute!

    • Spanky

      Maybe the firemen went home that night with a few extra bite marks and not from the fleas!

  • BDDD

    Is this another rental property owned by Al Gore?

  • Dave

    For information’s sake, Dawn Dishwashing Liquid is like NAPALM to fleas. And gentle enough to be used on newborn kittens and puppies. I work for an animal shelter/rescue, best kept secret (dunno why) in the pet trade.

    Shampoo pets, mix into a spray bottle for inside application and can even be put in a hose-end garden type sprayer and used outside. Won’t hurt most plants, also death to mosquitoes and their larvae!

    No charge!!

  • Opening Bell: Shut your face Dungy-Lesnar & prairie dogs-A fat woman's diet | Postgame Presser

    […] Firefighters in Connecticut were treated for the plague after they went to a house that was infested with fleas. When they left the house they were literally covered in them. That’s so damn nasty- CBS Connecticut […]

  • Danny G

    I love how a bunch of people with nothing better to do use a non-news story that happened to make it into the news on a slow day to gripe and complain about our president while spouting a bunch of nonsensical rhetoric, conspiracy gibberish, and xenophobia. You people live in Connecticut for god sakes, how much does illegal immigration truly disrupt your way of life??!!!

  • George

    so we are still absolving bush of any part in this,and now it is an Obama caused economic collapse? Hows that Tea taste, dummy?

  • Jazzbo

    Flea larvae pupate in a “case” until their hatching is triggered by vibration, carbon dioxide, and body heat. The cases split all at the same time (and they can lay dormant for years) and the new adult flea launches itself towards the vibration/heat source. This instant, “communal hatching” of all the pupae in a given location is what produces the phenomenon of one’s legs being suddenly covered in fleas.

  • Jazzbo

    Another disgusting “flea-factoid”: fleas lay their eggs in the host animal’s hair. When the eggs hatch, the larvae (maggots) drop to the floor and hide in debris, carpet, etc. They grow to maturity feeding on the half-digested blood in the fecal pellets that the adults drop off of the host! They grow up eating their mother’s poop!

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