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Welcome To Your Town’s New Privatized Fire Department
If this letter has been glued to your windshield, your community has just hired the privately owned startup Blaze—a new, exciting business that’s replacing your outdated, old fire department with a more relaxed, no-sweat approach to conflagration management.
At Blaze, we believe it is time for good, honest, hard working American people to stop relying on their government to fix their problems, and for private citizens to finally have the freedom to monetize house fires.
Worried about losing your local fire department? Hey, we get it! That’s why we’re writing to you today: to assure you that moving from a municipally-controlled and regulated institution to a privately owned and operated phone app is a really awesome idea.
We promise you can relax. Things are going to be exactly the same as they were under the regime of the notoriously power-hungry volunteer fire department of old. But they’re also going to be completely different in a new, better, and more complicated way.
If you’re having an issue you believe is fire-related, just head to our mobile app (Android only) and submit a SmokeSignal to a member of our Soak Squad. The app will then prompt you to scan the fire with your phone so one of our Soak Squad technicians can grade the fire from “Grandma Fell Asleep Smoking A Cigarette Again” to “Triangle Shirtwaist Factory.” We find that silly names like that help make the boring process of saving your family way more fun!
After that, just kick back and relax and in 4-6 speedy business weeks one of our Soak Squad members will be sent out to make an in-person assessment of your fire. Following that, we’ll proceed with all of your fire safety needs over the next 2-3 months. If that’s too slow for your taste, we offer a premium subscription service called BlazeBlack. For an additional charge of only $45,000 a year, you will be provided with your own live-in Soak Squad member. Room and board, food, and entertainment for the Soak Squad member isn’t included in the initial cost.
Here at Blaze, we’re trying to take the obsolete model of fighting fires and give it a fresh, new spin. For example, based on months of market research, we have found that your typical fire truck is too big, red, noisy, and extremely practical, whereas our fleet of electric fire scooters are unreliable, expensive, and sticky to the touch like pancake syrup. Everyone loves flapjacks!
Unfortunately, we don’t have access to fire hydrants and other municipal water sources, so we have decided to sub-contract our water resources to the Soak Squad Splash Zone.
Whenever a Soak Squad technician determines a fire must be extinguished, members of the Soak Squad Splash Zone will be notified on their phones with a high pitched frequency that won’t turn off until their personalized 24-digit PIN has been entered. At that point, they will be asked whether they accept the opportunity to help with the fire or not. When the countless, persistent notifications have finally persuaded them to accept, the Soak Squad Splash Zone app will guide members to the fire’s location, where they will be instructed to throw as many buckets of water on it as possible. If they aren’t near a bucket, the Soak Squad Splash Zone members will spit on the fire.
Despite our best intentions, we are well aware that many have raised concerns about the presence of Blaze in the community. For instance, several townspeople are concerned because the Blaze headquarters is located in a city 45 minutes away. But rest assured, it’s more like 35 minutes if the traffic is light. We’ve also heard that many are upset that we haven’t rehired the town’s existing fire department and instead hired several of our friends from college, plus a myriad of unpaid interns. But we can assure you that the old firemen were all offered great jobs in our head office, euthanizing the Dalmatians that lived in their firehouse for minimum wage.
And there you have it. Blaze is invested in creating new jobs, revitalizing the existing paradigm of fire extinguishing, and continuing to find ways to commodify unthinkable tragedies. To see for yourself, come to our community outreach program on Saturday, where you can sign up to be a member of the Soak Squad Splash Zone (children only, no adults) or take our app on a test run by having one of our technicians start a small fire on your body.
We will begin rolling out services in the upcoming 2 to 3 years, until then your township will be without any fire safety assistance, so please act accordingly.
Lillian Stone’s column on The Takeout “A Dark and Stormy Bite.”
Sean McGowan’s New Yorker piece “Recent Headlines From Hang Gliding Daily Magazine.”
Cara Michelle Smith’s most recent New Yorker Piece “Updated Horror Movie Tropes.”