Debris from a fire fills the backyard next to the now boarded-up house where the night before a man used a can of spray paint and a lighter as a makeshift
Debris from a fire fills the backyard next to the now boarded-up house where the night before a man used a can of spray paint and a lighter as a makeshift blowtorch to kill a spider (AP/Elaine Thompson)

SEATTLE - A man who used a can of spray paint and a lighter as a makeshift blowtorch to kill a spider in his laundry room started a blaze that caused $60,000 worth of damage, Seattle fire officials said Wednesday.

The man and his mother got out of the house, and no injuries were reported in the fire that broke out in the West Seattle home Tuesday night, said Kyle Moore, a spokesman for the Seattle Fire Department.

Moore said the man used the spray paint and lighter as "a self-made blowtorch to kill a spider in the laundry room" of a rental house.

"I don't want to encourage people to do this, but that's what he did," Moore said Wednesday. "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."

Fire crews were called to the home in the home just south of Seattle just before 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Firefighters initially fought the fire from outside after someone reported hearing ammunition go off in the house. Crews eventually went inside the house after confirming from tenants that there was no ammunition inside.

The man initially tried to put water on the fire, but he wasn't able to put it out and the blaze quickly spread into the attic.

On Wednesday, portions of the house were boarded up with plywood, and a blue tarp covered part of the roof. The owners of the house declined to comment.

"There are safer, more effective ways to kill a spider than using fire," Moore said. "Fire is not the method to use to kill a spider.


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The Red Cross is providing temporary shelter for the home's two residents, whom authorities have not identified.

As for the spider, Moore said: "I'm pretty sure the spider did not survive this fire. The whole wall went."