GRANT PARK—Paralyzed by the ghastly sight before them, attendees of an evening barbecue party watched in horror as a s’more burst into flames right before their eyes. “It was all so quick,” described Joey Ma, a witness at the scene. “When we realized what was happening, we tried shaking the s’more to put the fire out, but they ended up falling straight into the grill.”
Despite the shock that has seized the general community over the accident, firefighter Rosalie Bishop of the Pasadena Fire Department claimed that there were plenty of red flags raised ahead of time. “It’s not surprising that when you expose this many s’mores to that much heat, some end up flaming,” said Bishop. “It is true that the majority of s’mores come out the other side toasted to a sublime golden-brown, and will go on to contribute greatly to society. But more than a few will catch fire first.”
Not all members of the Caltech community agree that the incident is tragic, or even a bad thing, however. Alumni Hajnal Rossini (BS ‘86) sums up one perspective: “Flaming is very humbling, but very liberating. When I was a frosh, all the s’mores were basically toasted to ash by the time they were done. In my three years, nobody was seriously hurt—except for some singed eyebrows, maybe. Why the fuss?”
Regardless, just this year, Caltech Facilities Management has announced the imminent implementation of new safety measures to prevent future similar incidents. “All s’mores in danger of burning must be removed for an appropriate period of time before they are allowed to return,” read part of the official statement, released just yesterday. Other protective measures included requiring the Deans’ approval to return to the fire and providing grief counseling for students who have been in contact with flaming s’mores.
As of press time, a follow-up barbecue party is tentatively scheduled for early March 2018.