911 and the Big Blowout
Immediately after public schools closed for winter break and about two months following Alisa’s placement in my home, we were joined by another teenage girl named “Janet.” Janet came from a community near Alisa’s home, but they did not know each other. Janet, like Alisa was extremely pretty and slim, with perfect makeup and hair. Alisa leaned toward a more seductive look. The first impression of Janet was more wholesome; she pulled her hair back from her face and had the tan of an athlete. Janet was more engaging and conversant. We made cookies, and did some Christmas shopping, but there was not much for these two girls to do before school started after the holidays.
A nice, but boring Christmas passed. My 20 year old nephew was in town, on leave from the navy, and since he was over 18 and a licensed driver, he took Alisa and Janet to the movies. My nephew and the girls returned home as agreed. I was in my bed reading, when I smelled something burning. I went to the girl’s room, and the door was locked. The door did not feel hot when I put my hand against it; then I noticed the smell of acetone. I knocked on the door and asked to be let in, Alisa answered by refusing to open the door. I told Alisa I smelled chemicals and something burning and that I needed to see the room, or call 911. There was no response, I called 911. Alisa did not open the door. The police and firefighters came quickly. A police officer knocked on the bedroom door and a firefighter stood by; Alisa ran out and was intercepted at the front door by another police officer. The burning smell was caused by many candles; the paint smell was caused by a can of spray paint. Janet was not in the room. Janet had slipped out unnoticed sometime between returning home from the movies and my getting up to knock on the door. There was no fire. The room had been thoroughly painted with profanity. The carpet, beds, walls, and some of the ceiling had been decorated with the “F” word in blue paint.
Janet returned during the commotion and was outside being interviewed by police officers. Alisa wasn’t talking. The spray paint was confiscated by the police and I collected the candles. The firefighters left and the police stayed while we waited for my parents to come and get Janet and keep her for the night. The bedroom had too many toxic odors and could not be occupied at the time. Alisa spent the night on the couch in the family room pending the social workers' early morning visit. After a conversation with the social worker, they both left. Janet returned home soon after Alisa’s departure.
Given that Alisa admitted that the spray painting was her act, Janet was not held accountable for this incident. I wasn’t comfortable with this for the simple fact that Alisa had not acted out in any way until Janet appeared on the scene and there was just something about Janet that caused me some uneasiness. Within a day or two of this incident, I received a phone bill with many long distance calls placed to Janet’s home area code. Janet was able to work off the phone bill by repainting the bedroom. The paint came off the bed frame and the carpet by scrubbing, and over time, you could see little tiny blue spots of paint only if you looked for it.