A south side Milwaukee Fire Department engine house was closed for much of Tuesday after firefighters handling a fire at a flea-infested home inadvertently carried some of the insects back to their station.
Answering a call, firefighters from Engine 12, 1400 S. 9th St., answered a call about 12:30 a.m. in the 1500 block of S. 12th St. to fight a small fire at a home in the process of being condemned, department spokesman Lt. Brian O’Connor said.
Firefighters entered the home to make sure fire hadn’t spread inside, O’Connor said.
Hours later, they realized the home was infested with fleas, which had latched onto the firefighters and ridden back to the firehouse, O’Connor said.
“They said they were getting bites all over the place,” O’Connor said.
The firefighters immediately treated the firehouse with a bleach solution and placed a call to the city Health Department, Battalion 1 Chief Steven Gleisner said.
After spraying the place down with some over-the-counter pesticides, they called an exterminator, Gleisner said.
The engine house had to be closed down for about five hours, with all of the equipment and uniforms still inside as an exterminator treated the building to avoid spreading the fleas.
Firefighters kept a few cans of Raid around for good measure when the building reopened, Gleisner said.