I Survived the Great Mendoza Fire of 2023

Author: Libby Garnett

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Warren Rockefeller never could have predicted the harrowing ordeal he was about to endure. As he walked across DeBart Quad, clad in his tried and true Brooks Brothers suit, he breathed in the fresh autumn air with a smile. Little did Warren know that an electric skateboard would soon thrust him into a life-or-death situation.

Warren usually succeeded in staying calm, cool and collected, but today he was nervous. He had been preparing and practicing his case study presentation for months, and the day had finally come for him to present in front of the class. Warren felt the importance of the presentation’s success weighing on his shoulders like a ton of bricks. Everything he had ever aspired to — a VP position at Goldman Sachs and to finally live up to his parent’s expectations — was on the line.

At his professor’s request, Warren Rockfeller went to the front of the classroom. He wiped his sweaty palms on his $1,200 suit and opened to the first slide of his PowerPoint. But before Warren could even mention cost-to-revenue ratios, the classroom erupted into chaos at the sound of a deafening explosion. Through the classroom’s frosted glass walls, Warren could see a bright orange glow, increasing in size by the second.

Warren's instincts kicked in, and he immediately understood the gravity of the situation. He had so much to live for — his SIBC project, his club lacrosse team and his weekly Beerio Kart tournament with the boys. With calm determination, Warren realized he only had one option: Survive, and ensure that others did the same. He dashed toward the fire, determined to preserve the hallowed halls of the Mendoza College of Business. He attempted to douse the flames with water, and the 32 ounces from his Hydro Flask smothered the blaze just long enough for Warren to discover the cause of the fire: a malfunctioning electric skateboard.

Aided by his heroic professor, Warren managed to control the blaze long enough for the fire department to arrive. It was a grueling effort, with flames licking at his now ruined Oxfords and thick smoke fogging up his non-prescription blue-light-reducing glasses. But ultimately, Warren prevailed.

The firefighters took the skateboard outside and extinguished the few embers that remained.

As Warren Rockefeller headed next door to the Stayer Center to finish his presentation — his heart racing, his suit tattered and half burnt, and his face smudged with soot — he felt a sense of pride swell up in his chest, and he couldn’t help but smile. He had survived, and he had helped ensure others did, too.