The Purr-fect Crime

By Kael Beltmann, Current Staff

There’s a reason why Jack Steele’s backpack has smelled like burned toast for the last three weeks.

Steele returned from a debate competition Oct. 13 to a minor house fire started by a heating lamp that fell. The smoke stench, which got into his clothes and backpack, has lingered ever since.

“I didn’t mind coming to school with the smell too much because it wasn’t a terrible smell, it was campfire-ish,” Steele said. “But it still wasn’t cool having everything of my clothes, bed, etc., smelling like smoke.”

Alexis Williams, a West ninth grader who sits near Steele in Advanced Placement Human Geography, couldn’t help but notice the smell.

“It was like someone took a bonfire and added a hint of beef jerky,” Williams said. “I feel bad that the whole thing happened.”

The heating lamp was attached to the cage for Steele’s pet lizard, and the family believes their cat, named Mouse, accidentally knocked it over. That caused the cage to shatter and then the fire spread to the coffee table, carpet and kitchen floor.

New carpet needs to be put in and the house needs to be repainted, but at least the smell is starting to going away.

“The house smells better,” Steele said. “The lizard is okay, but a little shook.”

Mouse, the suspect, received no consequence.

(Image: Mouse the cat returns to the scene of the crime. Photo courtesy of Jack Steele.)

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