This story appears as part of the Daily Nexus’ 2007 April Fools’ issue.
Five local residents took down a blowtorch-welding UCSB student this past Saturday night after the 21-year-old’s joyride took a turn for the worse.
Bryce Adamson, a third-year psychology major, was on a seemingly innocent spree of couch burning on Del Playa Drive when he suddenly “went berserk,” witnesses said. Adamson was brought down by a group of men on the 6500 block of DP at 1:26 a.m. after he attempted to use his blowtorch as a jet pack to fly to the Channel Islands.
Chad Cope, a fourth-year classics major, said he and the crowd of approximately 150 partygoers were worried that Adamson was under the influence of some sort of controlled substance, and was possibly not thinking clearly.
Cope, who helped detain the crazed arson, said he and others were careful not to “jump the gun” on making the citizen’s arrest. He said Adamson’s behavior was typical of Isla Vista revelers up until the subject stuck the torch between his legs, approached the cliff and yelled, “You can tell Rolling Stone magazine that my last words were ‘I’m on drugs!'”
“At that point, we decided to arrest Bryce for his safety and the safety of others,” Cope said.
I.V. Foot Patrol deputies did not arrive at the scene until approximately 45 minutes after the initial citizen’s arrest was made. The officers said they were delayed due to their ongoing investigation of burritos at Freebirds.
IVFP Sr. Deputy Stark Billiams said he was proud of the I.V. residents who took charge of the situation.
“I am really impressed that UCSB students know what to do in this sort of situation,” he said. “I think this is a sign of maturity, and a number of deputies, including myself, are starting to wonder if our work in this town is done.”
Kyle McMillian, a business economics major who estimated that he is approximately a sixth-year student, said he has witnessed the arrest of innumerable intoxicated people during his years of living in I.V. He said these experiences, coupled with his acquired skill of avoiding the police, helped him in taking down Adamson.
“I’ve seen the different ways that people are arrested, and it always goes much smoother if the officers skip the whole ‘interrogation process’ and go straight for the jugular,” he said. “Between the five of us, we had him on the ground pretty fast.”
In total, Adamson set 17 couches aflame on Saturday, but only after dragging each sofa out of random residences. As a result of a county ordinance, most DP yards — once littered with comfy recliners — have only the standard, outdoor lawn furniture, which Adamson said are hard to ignite.
“I couldn’t find many couches outside, so I just started grabbing ones from houses with open doors,” he said. “After showing people my blowtorch, they were happy to donate a couch to see it in action.”
Britany Zelman, a fourth-year biology major who lives on the 6500 block of DP, said her house contributed a couch to the roasting rampage.
“Well, we are moving in just a few months and the couch was getting pretty gross, so I thought, what the hell,” Zelman said. “Besides, my roommate and her boyfriend have been sleeping on it all the time and it is covered in crusty stains.”
The Santa Barbara County Fire Dept., which originally ignored the smoke rising from I.V., arrived at the scene shortly after the IVFP. Spokesman Capt. Keith Dullom said that with the start of Spring Quarter, firefighters were expecting a few couch burnings, and decided to “let the kids have some fun for once.”
Dullom did admit that 17 couches posed an enormous threat to residents and their homes, and later apologized to the crowd for the fire department’s apathy.
Students, who were roasting marshmallows in the flames as well as leaping across the burning couches, quickly forgave the fire department, before politely asking them to leave the scene.
“We said ‘If you don’t tell on us, we won’t tell on you,'” Zelman said. “They seemed to appreciate our attitude and left without further ado.”
Additionally, Dullom denied rumors that the fire department was hoping I.V. would simply burn to the ground, ridding the county of its evil stepchild of an unincorporated land and giving wealthy Santa Barbarian’s more oceanfront property.
The five brave men who helped save the life of at least one I.V. resident will be honored by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Dept. with a trip to The Study Hall on April 7 and one “get out of jail free card.”