According to a fireman in Florida they can. A home in Florida caught fire, killed a few cats, and caused 80,000 in damages and the culprit was a little black carpenter ant. The colony nested in the wall near an electrical outlet. When one of the ants got grounded it burst into flames and the fire quickly spread. So you can certainly add that to your list of why not to have carpenter ants in your walls.
Get more of the Ant Fire story.
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