Man sets parents’ Fresno home on fire trying to kill black widows with blowtorch


A Fresno man may have been taking the “kill it with fire” memes a bit too seriously when he set his parents’ home ablaze while trying to exterminate black widow spiders with a blowtorch, authorities said.

The 23-year-old man called firefighters about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday after he saw smoke coming from the attic of his parents’ home on East Mariners Circle in a gated community in northeast Fresno known as Woodward Lakes, said Capt. Robert Castillo of the Fresno Fire Department.

The man told firefighters he was using a blowtorch to kill the venomous spiders and eliminate their webs from some bricks on the home’s exterior. The man’s parents were not home at the time.


One of the exterior bricks had a small crack, so the blowtorch’s flame ignited flammable material inside and the fire went straight up into the attic, Castillo said.

Twenty-six firefighters responded to the blaze, which caused about $10,000 worth of damage to the attic and the second story of the house.

The incident reminded fire officials of popular memes circulated online showing homes fully engulfed in flames with anti-spider sentiments like: “There was a spider, I panicked. But I think it’s gone now.”

Firefighters suggested bug spray might be a better way to banish creepy crawlers.

“This is definitely not the preferred method to exterminate spiders in and around your home,” Castillo said.


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