RICHTON PARK, Ill. (STMW) – A Richton Park man says he accidentally set his apartment building ablaze while attempting to smoke out squirrels that had taken up residence in the walls.

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Resident Robert Hughes says he set off a rodent smoke bomb in his building’s gutter, hoping it would chase the squirrels out of their hole. The squirrels, Hughes says, had gotten in through a hole in the side of the building about three weeks ago and have been there ever since.

“It sounded like a whole family of squirrels living in the house,” Hughes said. “It was kind of nerve wracking.”

Firefighters responded to the blaze at about 10 a.m. Tuesday at 3062 Euclid Lane in the south suburb, Richton Park Fire Department Deputy Chief Rodney Wilson said. Firefighters extinguished the blaze within minutes.

There were no reported injuries, but the apartments were badly damaged.

Firefighters had to rip open the roof in Hughes’ unit and an adjacent apartment to extinguish the blaze, Wilson said.

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