Satire: AU administration under fire as sentient flames claim new alarm system is discriminatory
Flames deemed "incapable of damage" due to color
From the Newsstands: This story appeared in The Eagle's April 2023 print edition. You can find the digital version here.
The following piece is satire and should not be misconstrued for actual reporting. Any resemblance to a student, staff or faculty member is coincidental.
American University’s new Positive Alarm Sequence requires personnel to respond to pulled fire alarms, inspect the scene and ensure the presence of an actual emergency. This new protocol for responding to pulled fire alarms has proven to be incredibly discriminatory. Following the implementation of the new system, local flames began protesting the personnel, who frequently declared them non-emergencies based on their height and hue.
In the immediate time following the initial rollout, no flames reported substantial changes in their typical lives. But as the rate of intentional alarm pulling ramped up, so did the flammable profiling. Reports of security personnel measuring flame height to assess the fire’s danger have flooded The Seagle’s office.
After one student’s dinner caught fire in a lounge, the Top Ramen flame ran to pull the alarm, believing they were responsible. Curiously, no alarm sounded. Instead, about a minute and a half later, a man with a clipboard trudged his way over to the chicken-scented flame.
“What’s the reason for your creation, sir?” asked the man in a nasally, snobbish voice. The lanky man stood there with slumped shoulders, high-waisted khakis and a less-than-sunny disposition.
“Kid burnt his food,” claimed the flame. The man nodded begrudgingly and did not hurry to declare an emergency. The flame grew impatient watching the cartoonish man continue to ignore this dire emergency and inquired about alerting the resident hall’s inhabitants. After a few judgy glares, the man bent down, whipped out a tape measure and measured the flame. After being told his flame did not meet the height requirement for an actual emergency, the flame became irate and exploded away.
Last month, a first-year student tried to microwave a metal bowl, and the system discredited the flame due to the clarity of their orange hue.
The flame met with Seagle reporters to share their story with the campus. Through a painful recounting of events, they claimed the worker tasked with the fire’s severity deemed the fire “incapable of damage” because the flame was “not orange enough.”
After the University revealed the tremendous backlog of reports of these failed fires, mounting complaints from flames across campus caused a whirlwind, as flames refused to leave until they were deemed emergencies. All attempts at extinguishing these protests have proved futile. The flames have left their mark on campus, in both the figurative and the literal sense.
In an attempt to quell the fiery discontent, administrators released a series of statements throughout the semester. While these statements purport to “reevaluate” criteria for defining fire-related emergencies, the flames have yet to be convinced.
In fact, the flames were so dissatisfied with the performative statement, they lashed out. As of last week, the campus remains entirely engulfed in flames. Students are dying. Buildings are burning. The entire recorded history of the University is being loudly charred to bits by the roaring protests of profiled flames.
The University’s administration maintains its position. When interviewed by a Seaglereporterinaflame-proofbox,one flame said, “This new system has brought burning questions to administration in the fields of discrimination, safety and consistency. We won’t back down until this whole place is charred to the ground.”
Evidently, neither will the administration. The Seagle expects more fiery protests and fuming students in the weeks to come.
Jared Bowes is a freshman in the School of Public Affairs and is a satire columnist for The Eagle.