June 10, 2009

Africanized bees swarm burning house

Firefighters said a blaze at a small Florida home got more complicated when Africanized bees swarmed the house.

St. Petersburg Fire Department Lt. Joel Granata said the blaze started with a gas water heater on the back porch of Robert Porter's house at about 9:38 a.m. Firefighters arriving to douse the flames were met by what a beekeeper estimated to be 40,000 Africanized bees swarming the front door and walls, the Tampa (Fla.) Tribune reported Wednesday.

Granata said another hazard was created when the fire caused a power line attached to the back of the house to fall on and electrify a chain-link fence.

The house sustained about $30,000 worth of damage before firefighters were able to extinguish the flames.

Granata said no serious injuries were reported, but some people were stung by the bees.