Four Myrtle Beach fire stations have been treated after a firefighter found bed bugs in his bed as he prepared to end his shift Saturday morning, city officials said.
Battalion Chief Bruce Arnel said staff searched all six of the city’s fire departments and found infestations in three departments – No. 1, No. 3 and No. 5 – and two bugs in Station No. 6. Arnel said this is the first bed bug problem he’s aware of at the city’s fire stations.
Myrtle Beach’s six fire stations No. 1: 1250 Mr. Joe White Ave. No. 2: 5338 N. Kings Highway No. 3: 2108 S. Kings Highway No. 4: 1170 Howard Parkway No. 5: 804 79th Ave. N. No. 6: 970 38th Ave. N.
Arnel said a private company treated the sleeping quarters of the four stations where bugs were found, most recently treating Station No. 5 off 79th Avenue North on Tuesday. Most beds were treated though two mattress and box spring sets had to be thrown out, Arnel said.
“Everything gets inspected on a regular basis,” Arnel said. “The station, the equipment – including the beds. Every day the linen is removed ... and laundered.”
Firefighters were able to stay in other parts of the station while the infestation was treated.
Firefighters are exposed to every facet of this city in the performance of their job. They could have come from anywhere.”
Battalion Chief Bruce Arnel
Arnel said Tuesday the department did not yet have a final bill for the bed bug treatment, adding that it cost about $1,600 to treat just the largest station – No. 3 off Kings Highway near Harrelson Boulevard.
The firefighter who discovered the bed bugs also treated his home. Arnel said the department offered to pay for treatment, but the man chose to pay for it himself. Arnel said firefighters were encouraged to clean their sheets at home.
“This isn’t something that we want our firefighters to have to deal with,” Arnel said. “As soon as we found out about [the bed bugs], we started working to get rid of them.”
Arnel said he’s not sure what could have caused the infestation at the different stations.
“Firefighters are exposed to every facet of this city in the performance of their job,” he said. “They could have come from anywhere.”