Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Councilman Finds His Cat's Body in His Fire-Ravaged House

Beverly Councilman Luis Crespo had a bad night Tuesday. After his house was gutted in a fire Monday, he was able to enter its shell, inside where he discovered the body of his family's cat. The animal apparently hid under a bed when flames destroyed the duplex on Broad Street, not far from the Beverly National Cemetery. Crespo also was stripped of his committee appointments that night during a meeting he couldn't make because he was boarding up the house.

Councilman Finds His Cat's Body in His Fire-Ravaged House

Beverly Councilman Luis Crespo (in a 2008 file photo)
Beverly Councilman Luis Crespo (in a 2008 file photo)

Beverly Councilman Luis Crespo had a terrible night Tuesday.  After his house on Broad Street was gutted in a raging fire Monday evening, he finally was able to enter its shell to see what he could salvage.  Little remained, but he found  the body of the family's cat under his bed. 

Crespo, who's had his share of controversy as councilman and  council president during the past six years, said he also was stripped of his committee appointments Tuesday.  "I was boarding up my house," he said, explaining why he couldn't make the reorganization meeting. 

It wouldn't have mattered.

After switching parties, the former Republican won reelection in 2009 as a Democrat but then lost the Democratic primary last June, along with two other Democratic incumbents on the five-member council.  

Late last month, he won a reprieve.  When a fourth Democrat on council resigned unexpectedly, the lame-duck governing body appointed Crespo to that unexpired term.  The vote was 3-1 with the lone Republican on council objecting, saying Crespo shouldn't be seated after losing the election.

The newly sworn council elected Robert Bancroft to replace Crespo as council president on Tuesday and also did not elect Crespo to serve on any committee. 

The Burlington County Prosecutor's Office and Fire Marshal are investigating the fire but have not released any findings yet.   

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Written by Inquirer staff writer Jan Hefler, the Burlco Buzz blog covers breaking news in the the county, as well as its quirky characters, crime cases, politics, outdoor recreation and environment. Contact Jan at jhefler@phillynews.com.

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