- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 28, 2002

Remember Pepe Le Pew, the amorous French skunk unaware of his malodorous effect in his cartoon world?
Bruce Alan remembers him well. In fact, the WTOP Radio news anchor is living with Pepe's American cousin.
"The stink is just awful," Mr. Alan said of the air in his Gaithersburg home.
A skunk wandered into Mr. Alan's neighborhood around 2 a.m. Monday and sprayed its musk right under the Alans' front porch. The family at first didn't know what hit them.
"There was a burning scent," Mr. Alan said. "We thought it was the heat, so we turned it off. Two hours later, we were cold and smelly."
Later that morning, Mr. Alan and his wife were surprised but amused when officials at Gaithersburg High School called to say their children would have to be removed from class.
The reason: They smelled. Bad.
"My wife brought them a change of clothes, but the clothes she brought were just as bad," Mr. Alan said. His daughter is a senior and his son a freshman at the high school. "They've been getting it at school from the other students.
"We used almost an entire box of Bounce and baby powder to get the smell off the clothes," he said.
When he went to work at the radio station Monday, Mr. Alan said, he still had a hint of skunk in his clothes. But WTOP's staffers apparently were able to bear the stench. And he has been telling the tale of the skunk on air during his 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. shift.
Since Monday night, he and his family have been forced to live in a motel while trappers searched unsuccessfully for the little stinker.
Yesterday, the Alan home was fumigated to get rid of the odor. Mr. Alan said his home insurer dispatched a crack team of stink removers. "My house looks a lot like the Hart Senate Office Building when it was being cleaned for anthrax,"he said.
Cleaners used two washing machine-size air-purification units. The first unit floods the house with ozone; the second pumps out the ozone and pumps in fresh air. It took about 24 hours, and the home was ready to re-enter by 5 p.m. yesterday.
Mr. Alan said he has been bombarded with calls and e-mails from radio listeners for the past three days offering their own smelly stories and tips.
"I love a good joke, but I'm about ready for this one to end," he said, "because this time the joke's on me."


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