An opossum.
An opossum. Cody Pope/CC BY-SA 2.5

Men—great men, even—sometimes have bad ideas.

Take the man in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, who, on May 3, tried to scare away an opossum by lighting some leaves on fire in his backyard. He ended up destroying his house. “His intention was to use the smoke from the burning leaves to hopefully scare away the opossum,” assistant fire marshal Carl Everhart told Lancaster Online. “Unfortunately for him the exterior of the residence was made of wood, and the fire got out of control and spread to the residence.”

The Associated Press reports that the man, who was not named in news reports, “had problems with bees also.” The fire was eventually contained by firefighters, but not before it had done $50,000 in damage to the now-condemned house.

There is no word on whether the opossum was in any way frightened, by the initial fire or the conflagration that followed, or whether bees remain an issue.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, “If there is an opossum in the yard, don’t worry. They aren’t a threat, and more than likely they will be moving on in a short while.”