Fire victims get bed bugs from donated furniture


by & Othello Richards

Posted on December 12, 2012 at 7:21 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 3:20 AM

SPOKANE -- A North Spokane family lost nearly everything to an apartment fire last June.

Now they are battling bed bugs they think they got from some donated furniture.

The June 2011 fire at the Autumn Ridge Apartments destroyed 90% of everything that Mick Chapman, his fiancé and their 3 children owned.

Chapman graciously accepted donations of furniture and clothing, and moved into a new place. Not long after, the couple bites on their son’s legs and hands.

The family threw out the donated furniture, laundered everything, and moved again. They assumed that would be enough to kick the bed bugs.

They were wrong.

Chapman called a local pest control company called Enviro-Pro. Operator Raymond VanderLouw estimated it would cost more than $2,000 to get rid of the bugs.

When VanderLouw learned what had happened to the family, he offered to do the 14-hour job for free.

“I was touched by their story and I knew that if I didn’t take care of them, I was just a jerk,” the exterminator said.

VanderLouw decided to participates in a national charitable event called “Taking the Bite out of the Holidays.”

He performed the took care of the critters on Wednesday.

VanderLouw said Spokane’s growing bed bug problem shows no sign of slowing down. He’s done more than 100 jobs so far this year.