CHARLESTON, SC (BILL BURR, WTAT-TV) — Good news for Charleston firefighters, those bed bugs are no longer biting at lowcountry fire stations. The Charleston Fire Department says the pests are finally gone.
Man’s best friend became a saviour for the Charleston Fire Department.
Rex is a certified bed bug detection canine. Fire officials say he sniffed, searched and inspected for the tiny pests at 16 fire stations.
“When he goes in a home, he doesn’t care if he finds bed bugs. He cares about finding a little tennis ball. He associates the scent of live bed bugs with that tennis ball,” explains James Trimble, owner of Confidential K9.
Trimble and his wife own Rex, a purebred Belgian Malinios. Their Charleston-based business specializes in drug and bed bug detection services. For the past four weeks, they visited every city fire station.
“We completed inspections of all the fire stations. And they’ve all been found clean of bed bug infestations,” confirmed interim fire chief John Tippett of the Charleston Fire Department.
Chief Tippett says bed bugs were found at four fire stations. After using city-owned equipment to kill the bugs, they tossed out infested furniture. Then, Rex re-inspected the buildings.
“All the firefighters are back in their normal work stations,” Tippett said. “We’ve taken care of all the needs that they have as far as replacing any linens that might have been lost in the process.”
Fire officials explain it was a tedious process. And it helped them learn how to prevent the pests.
“Spacing out the beds, reducing the number of beds, laundering the linen, and general cleanliness of the stations and apparatus are what we’re looking toward right now,” said Kenneth Jenkins, battalion chief for health and safety of the Charleston Fire Department.
It was a bed bug battle won with the help of James Trimble’s special dog.
“All in all, Rex performed like a champ,” Trimble said.
We tried to find out how much it cost the city spent to finally get rid of the bed bugs. City officials won’t confirm a figure. But, James Trimble told us it costs about 10-cents a square foot for Rex to inspect a building. At least one fire station is 13-thousand square feet.