ORLANDO, Fla. – Orange County homes being treated for pests have fallen victim to a different kind of invader. Two Orange County homeowners say their homes were broken into while they were being fumigated for termites.
“I thought they were crazy to go into the house if there was poison in it,” says Cheryl, one of the victims. She asked FOX 35 not to show her face or full name.
Cheryl says her house was tented at the beginning of the week. Soon after, she got a call from the company saying someone had cut it open. She says she could tell someone got into her place through a window – but not what they took.
“They went through the bedroom, and I wasn’t allowed back in until a day later. I saw all my clothes on the floor – just a mess,” she explained.
It happened on Fairview Avenue. The other house was hit just a few minutes away on Neuselaan. Both are in neighborhoods off Fairbanks Ave near Winter Park.
“Deadly skull and crossbones … that’s pretty universal meaning, don’t come inside,” said Greg Goetz, the owner of GAG Pest Control.
Goetz wasn’t involved in the fumigation, but gives us a glimpse into the process — and the dangers for anyone entering a tent home.
“They entered the residence with an unknown amount of vican gas, which is sulfuryl fluoride — it’s odorless, colorless and tasteless,” Goetz said.
The gas is deadly. So fumigation machines also fill the house with tear gas to prevent people from entering. Professionals wear self-contained breathing apparatus – like firefighters – to enter.
But experts say you can get that gear online, too.
Criminals who take advantage of the fact that no one is home.
“I was shaking. It’s hard to come home knowing someone is in your house looking through your belongings,” Cheryl said.
It is still unclear whether the burglar was wearing any protective gear or whether they became ill by entering.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office is investigating.