My name is Alex and I am a senior at the University of Colorado. Earlier this semester my roommate and I were bored one night and decided to replicate what we see too often on the hill: a couch fire. Now we didn’t have the mentality “go big or go home,” we were just looking for a little excitement. We grabbed a single seat cushion from a couch we were going to throw out anyway and waltzed out into the lonely street. At 5 a.m. there wasn’t a soul to be seen. As we tried to light the fake leather cushion on fire, gusts of wind blew out our flame, extinguishing all hope of doing this without a catalyst.

I ran inside and found a can of WD-40, formerly used to grease our foosball table, and tossed it to my buddy in the street. After a quick spray down and exposing the more flammable-looking material inside, we got the cushion to light. As we were swiftly walking back to our house to watch the fire grow from the porch, a cop car drove up right behind us, rolling over the curb and up onto the sidewalk, lights on, and sounded a few woops from his siren. Two more appeared from out of nowhere. A quiet, dull night in Boulder just got very interesting. Hours later, I was handed a ticket for building fires on public property.

Couch fires are dangerous for a few reasons. One, they can expel noxious gasses into the air, and two, they can spread and ignite larger fires. In our situation, if the fire was larger and there were any trees in the area, the wind could have blown the fire and caused a nearby tree to ignite, igniting other trees in the area, and then putting houses in danger of catching fire as well. Couch fires also use our city’s emergency resources such as the Boulder Fire Department. Even though our fire was not an emergency, the fire department was called, potentially preventing them from responding to a real emergency.

So let’s be real and learn from my mistake to prevent future ones: couch fires are pointless and dangerous. Boulder is in an extremely dry climate and fires are a real danger every year. Only you can prevent couch fires.

Alex Miller


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