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Bug bombs cause partial collapse of New York city building

By Jonathan Allen

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A woman attempting to deploy nearly two dozen bug bombs inside her small New York City apartment caused a "partial collapse" of the five-story building, injuring 14 people, the fire department said on Saturday.

Fire marshals said the woman told them she set off 20 bug bombs, also known as foggers, without incident on Wednesday inside her Chinatown apartment.

But as she set about repeating that exercise on Thursday, the highly flammable cloud of insecticide was ignited, likely by the pilot light in her oven or some other kitchen appliance, said Jim Long, a fire department spokesman.

The fiery blast caused a partial collapse of some ceilings and walls on the first floor of the building, which contains businesses as well as other apartments, he said.

The woman with the bug infestation was among the 14 people who suffered injuries such as burns, smoke inhalation and respiratory distress.

Fire officials ruled the explosion an accident.

Firefighters retrieved 21 discharged bug bomb canisters from the scene, Long said. With most brands, one bug bomb per room is believed to be sufficient. It is not clear what the woman saw in her apartment to prompt such extreme measures, he added.

"That's an awful lot of insecticide," Long said.

(Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Gunna Dickson)

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