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Broadway arson site sprayed for roaches

by Paul Leakan


For months, a burned-out house on Broadway Avenue in Clarksburg was like a roach motel -- only the critters that checked in kept making reservations at nearby houses and apartments.

A-1 Exterminating Inc., however, believes it may have evicted the pests from the house for at least a while. And that could help neighbors with roach problems they say they've had ever since the house burned.

Sam Caputo, owner of A-1 Exterminating, said the site was home to a lot of roach "activity" when it was sprayed late last Thursday. Although Caputo refused to reveal the actual type of pesticide that was used, he said he was very confident in the effectiveness of the product.

The building, located at 313 1/2 Broadway Ave., was allegedly set on fire by 14-year-old T.J. Jeffress on July 12. Since then, scores of roaches once in the house have infested neighboring homes.

Residents wrote letters and pleaded for city officials to take action. City officials were banned by investigators from spraying the area until criminal investigations were completed.

But Assistant State Fire Marshal Mack Dennis recently completed his investigation of the scene, and Harrison County Judge Thomas A. Bedell decided to lift the order. The city paid A-1 to spray the building.

And that's good news for Judy Lewis.

Lewis, who lives nearby at 321 Broadway Ave., has been fending off roaches ever since the blaze. And she can tell at least a few harrowing roach tales.

One time she woke up and was greeted by several roaches crawling up the headboard of her bed. Last week, she found roaches flitting along her family's toothbrushes and around the bathroom sink.

"All I wanted them to do was get rid of those bugs," Lewis said. "I didn't want my kids living like that."

Exterminators have paid several visits to Lewis' home the past few months. So far, she said the spraying of the burned-out house appears to be working.

"They must have used something really potent, because I have seen not a one," she said.

Though roaches don't appear to be lurking about right now, Lewis will continue to pay exterminators around $40 a month to spray her house.

She hopes to sweep the problem -- and the dead roaches -- away for good.

And that may happen if people take special care in safeguarding their houses, according to Joshua Snider, a sanitarian at the Harrison-Clarksburg Health Department.

"For every cockroach you see, there's about 5,000 to 6,000 others," Snider said. "They're just as dangerous -- dead or alive. They still carry bacteria.

"If you're wanting to safeguard your house, seal up any cracks, take away any food supply and get rid of trash," he said. "Those are things they'll seek, and they'll find them."