Fire Alarm Taco Soup

There’s fire in my blood. My grandfather was a firefighter. My father was too before becoming the fire marshal for our county. I even sleep in a Smokey Bear pajama set. That’s why when the fire alarm in our dorm went off in the middle of the night, I jumped into action. Within ten seconds, I had my shoes and jacket on and my bookbag ready to go (textbooks are expensive, they had to be saved). I woke up my roommate who was so disoriented that she was wandering around trying to find her hat and makeup bag. I ran into my suitemates’ room to wake them up and help them evacuate. With my voice of authority, I announced, “Ok ladies, we need to move! Let’s head out to our designated meeting spot in the parking lot.” They were all taking too long so at that point I decided to save myself. I walked to our door out to the hallway so I could determine the best exit route. That’s when I noticed no one was evacuating. Before I started knocking on doors, I realized the alarm was only going off in our room. A tall young man from down the hall came to assist me because other students had already realized that sometimes the smoke detectors would go off unannounced and the only way to make that piercing sound stop was to essentially rip the smoke detector off the wall. Oh, the code violations! I was mortified and tried to go back to bed as if nothing had ever happened.

My suitemates were a little intoxicated at the time, so I hoped they wouldn’t remember the night’s activities the next morning. I was not that lucky. They laughed for a solid minute when they first saw me, but told me how touched they were that my first instinct was to come get them to make sure they could safely evacuate. From then on, they could all rest easy knowing that Fire Marshal Brynn was ready to take action if there ever was a real emergency.

Tonight, my roommate and I will be enjoying “Fire Alarm Taco Soup” as we remember the night I tried to evacuate our entire dorm (if the fire alarm does go off tonight, you know we’ll be ready). You can check out my recipe below!


Fire Alarm Taco Soup Recipe

Soup with corn and beans in yellow sunflower bowl
Photo: Taco soup in sunflower bowl by Brynn Garner


  • 4 cups water

  • 1 bottle tomato juice

  • 1 packet taco seasoning

  • 1 can kidney beans

  • 1 can pinto beans

  • 1 can corn


  1. In a large pot, bring water and tomato juice to a boil

  2. Add taco seasoning, kidney beans, pinto beans and corn

  3. Reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes

  4. Enjoy!