Debunking Fossil’s fire curse


Caroline Sears, Activities Beat Director

Fossil Ridge High School has a reputation when it comes to fire. History has repeated itself many times at our school. Every year, and even multiple times per year, our school has caught on fire. These recurring fires seem incohesive and mysterious, but some students suspect a curse.

In the fall of 2016, the Homecoming dance caught on fire, resulting in an evacuation. The fire was caused by an overworked multi-plug adapter, which short-circuited and caught fire. No students were injured, but it cost the school about $1,500

In 2017, the fall PSAT test was interrupted by a fire alarm. A surprise drill issued from the Poudre Fire Authority was expected in the month, but the drill fell on the PSAT testing date. However, no tests were considered invalid because of the interruption.

Anna Henning
Last September, the Homecoming bonfire erupted into flames, injuring one firefighter.

The next year brought the infamous bonfire explosion during Homecoming week. Students gathered around the firewood as a fireman went to ignite it. Students were shocked as it erupted in flames. After the explosion, one fireman suffered from a minor face burn. The bonfire exploded because of high temperatures that evening which ignited the gasoline vapor.

In the spring of 2019, the entire school was evacuated for a fire in the woodshop. The cause of this particular fire was a spark from a band saw which caught an out of date dust collector in need of replacement on fire. It engulfed the dust collector in flames as students fled the building. One teacher was sent to a hospital after the event with serious injuries. Most recently, a plasma cutter in the woodshop set off another evacuation in mid-November after school. 

This idea of a curse arose after the fire in the woodshop last year. Some laugh at the fires and even think of jokes about the reoccurrences. But, the Poudre Fire Authority is debunking this hypothesis. Poudre Fire Authority has been fighting fires in Fort Collins since 1880. Michael Durkin, the Community Risk Reduction Manager from PFA, does not believe that there could be a curse on Fossil. 

Schools are “inspected regularly by both PFA and PSD staff and have special systems (extinguishers, fire doors, sprinklers, etc) designed to keep students and staff safe,” said Durkin. Although some may blame the dust collector, it actually helped to contain and did its job in keeping it controlled. Durkin even stated, “In both the woodshop fire and the 2016 homecoming fire, these systems worked. They kept the fire from growing larger and alerted the school,”

Miles Blumhardt, the Coloradoan
Firefighters extinguish the fire in the woodshop last May.

In fact, the firefighters who saved our school last May were aware of all of Fossil’s protective systems, like the alarm panel and sprinkler system. These helped them to stop the fire from progressing. One firefighter, Hanson, had inspected our school before coming to inspect the fire in the woodshop.

Most fires in schools are caused by cooking, intentional action, or heating equipment. In our school, we can limit the risk in many ways, from paying attention to our food in the microwave to reporting all suspicious behavior including fire. Your first priority in case of a fire is to escape. Fire Investigator Hanson from the PFA, who responded to the fire in the woodshop, says that the extinguishers are to “help you get out” instead of trying to extinguish it yourself. 

Some students even suspected the class of 2020 was cursed since these events began their Freshman year. No matter what suspicions you may have, the PFA denies any kind of curse. The mystery may go deeper, but in short, no, Fossil is not under a fire curse. Despite the many theories and questions still unanswered, Fossil is fire curse free. Perhaps it is a coincidence or a conspiracy.