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Eiliya Maida Uses Blowtorch To Clear Spiderwebs, Sets House On Fire In Chico, California

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Firefighters on the scene at the home of Eiliya Maida.
Firefighters on the scene at the home of Eiliya Maida.

While "The Amazing Spider-Man" was red hot at the box office this weekend, just your average spiderweb caused a California homeowner to wreak $25,000 in damages to his home.

Early Saturday afternoon, Eiliya Maida had just finished using a propane-powered blowtorch to set fire to the cobwebs in the backyard of his home in Chico, Calif., the Chico Enterprise Record reports.

All was well, until his brother-in-law noticed smoke coming from the attic.

Maida had inadvertently ignited nearby weeds as he was setting the webs on fire, Fire Division Chief Keith Carter told the Huffington Post. The fire spread to household equipment on the lawn before traveling up the outside wall and into the attic.

Maida had not noticed his home was burning until his brother-in-law saw the smoke, according to the Chico Enterprise Record.

Firefighters were able to quell the flames in around 5 to 10 minutes, and they also did not take long to figure out how the blaze had started.

"It was pretty evident," Carter said, because they saw a 5-gallon propane tank with a nozzle lying in the yard.

When firefighters questioned Maida, he quickly admitted what had happened.

Though the fire did about $25,000 worth of damage, the home was not lost. Only the attic suffered serious damage, according to Carter. However, fried electrical wiring has forced the family to move out, at least temporarily.

Carter said he had not heard of anyone using a blowtorch to clear spiderwebs before. However, he pointed out, many people do use blowtorches to burn up weeds and other unwanted plants.

This practice can be dangerous during the heat of summer, the fire chief warns. In Maida's case, the combination of high winds and 100-degree heat on Saturday created particularly hazardous conditions.

Carter does not recommend that anyone use a blowtorch to clear either weeds or cobwebs during the summer. It's "one of those common sense" things, he said.

[Hat Tip: Fark.com]

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