A minute by minute recreation of the Rubin fire alarm crisis

Careful analysis of the “rubinnn” group chat reveals students’ incredible strength and perseverance in the face of a 12 AM evacuation and at least four subsequent false alarms.

Siegrid Tuttle
6 min readFeb 28, 2021

In the first two hours of February 19, the fire alarms in Rubin went off somewhere between five and eight times. Students evacuated once, reentered the building and sat through thirty minutes of screeching loud false alarms. This is the true story of a group of students, yanked from their normal lives, searching for answers, told through selected comments from the “rubinnnn” group chat. Enjoy.

The official logo of the rubinnn group chat

Penzi, 12:14 AM: I’m not wearing pants right now???? Is this real???

As the first alarm went off, Penzi immediately jumped on the “rubinnnn” group chat. She was soon joined by dozens of other confused BIRDRATS asking “What the fuck,” “Is this real,” and “Should we leave?”

Lucy, 12:20 AM: one of you is such a fucking clown for this

By 12:20 AM most students had still not decided whether to evacuate, but they had begun to theorize who might be culpable for the midnight surprise. Some students remembered people asking about the dorm’s policy on candles the day before.

Rishi Kulkarni, 12:33 AM: I left my fridge open when i left is that bad…

By 12:33 AM most of the students had evacuated and were regretting some of their last minute decisions. Many were cold and tired. Others embraced the emergency nature time, calling it “underhyped by a mile.”

Meanwhile, the group chat continued its investigation into what caused the forced evacuation. The leading theories at this point were that it was caused by a gas leak or smoking with the windows shut, both strong theories considering that Rubin is a “historical building” and a den of nicotine addicts.

12:40 AM, Jackson: they just wanted everyone to get out and enjoy the snow [Pink Hearts emoji]

Jackson forwards perhaps the rosiest theory for what caused the crisis. This may represent a general brightening of spirits among the Rubin refugees, at least one of whom was making a snow angel. Another ordered grubhub. Faced with misery and uncertainty, the BIRDRATS found hope and joy in the small things.

Rubin student picks up Grubhub
Rubinite picks up food

The BIRDRATS also continued to search for the culprit. Noticing the firefighters were going into the basement, students theorized the laundry machines (which are also constantly broken) might have caused the crisis. Cassie wished a fate worse than death on the instigator, “if this is bc y’all can’t empty the lint trays i hope your pillow is always warm.”

By 12:53 firefighters allowed students to reenter the building. The saga appeared to be over and the BIRDRATS began to rebuild their lives. Many expressed they felt closer to nature or “strengthened as a community.”

Neteyali, 12:57 AM: UM

Isabel, 12:57 AM: Fuck no

Bella, 12:57 AM: I’d rather burn

JJ, 12:57 AM: when will this nightmare ever end?

After most students had returned to their floors, some climbing 16 stories, the alarms went off again. The group chat’s immediate reaction was pain, horror, and fear.


At 12:58 AM students on the 5th floor reported blessed silence, students on the 16th floor quickly reported the same. The alarms had stopped. Students began threatening and cursing the gods of Rubin with false bravado, believing they were safe from retribution.

The BIRDRATS reopened their investigation into the cause of the false fire alarm with renewed fervor. A student dubbed the group, “Detective Rubinites.” Students still felt strongly it might have been caused by a gas leak, citing the odd smell permeating many Rubin dorm rooms. Others believed the crisis had been caused by smoke, instructing their fellow students to “open a window” while smoking or try edibles as a more fire-safe addiction. I assume “edibles” refers to wholesome snacks, like apples.

Belle blamed the Rubin ghost. Isabel immediately responded with violence, “Lets get her That ghost asking for a beating.” Saving the ghost from vigilante justice, Lucy blamed “the hot sexy and totally single bitches in room 303.”

Finally the students turned to more structural issues.

Gerry pointed out, “if we had ac there wouldn’t have been a firee […] If the printer was working, we could’ve printed “no fire starting” signs.”

Sarah, 1:16 AM: NO

Siegrid, 1:16 AM: fuck

JJ, 1:16 AM: Jesus christ

Isabel, 1:16 AM: BESTIE NO

Arley, 1:16 AM: Guess I’ll Die

Bella, 1:16 AM: GO TO SLEEP

Isabel, 1:16 AM: WHAT THE FUCK

After nearly 20 minutes of false hope, the alarms went off. Again. After their initial horror, the students immediately decided dying was preferable to another evacuation. Our heroes valiantly chose to go down with the ship, Lucy proclaiming “i live in Rubin i die for Rubin.”

Through the screeching noise, some students attempted to figure out the cause. Many decided ice falling off the side of Rubin might be triggering it. Others started trying to diagnose the building’s obvious deep psychological issues. Bella, lovely as always, tried to calm the building, asking, “Musical people can you guys sing a lullaby to our baby Rubin?”

The alarms may have turned on and off on some floors, but by 1:20 AM all went silent. But the silence was tense.

Belle, 1:21 AM: FUCK

Gerry, 1:21 AM: Ok fuck this im going outside this is too loud

Bella, 1:21 AM: this getting to be to much

Amanda, 1:21 AM: I fucking hate it here

As the alarms rang again, the BIRDRATS’ descent into complete despair was swift and brutal. A student reported he was cutting his ears off and invited the others to join him. Others began putting together a lawsuit against NYU for emotional distress. Netyali counted it as the sixth wave of alarms, though some floors had only been through four.

Some students began diagnosing Rubin with serious mental disorders. Isabel stated “This place wants to end it all.” Other students wondered if this sadistic sequence of alarms was an expression of Rubin’s burgeoning sexuality.

Interestingly, none of the students considered Rubin hall might just hate us.

Amanda, 1:24 AM: “I feel like I can still hear it ring Omg”

At 1:24 AM the alarms went silent for the final time. But the BIRDRATS were suspended in fear. One student reported her roommate had stress hives. The emotional distress was severe. Once again, they searched for a scapegoat. One student said the entire incident was caused by a panini press blowing up. Lucy asked, “U fr?” Isabel followed up, “Awww someone was hungry […] FOR A PANINI AT 1AM” There would be no sympathy for the culprit.

Students quickly began reporting other possible causes: a VR set overheating, someone putting tinfoil in the microwave, a fish tank catching fire (the way tanks of water do), a gas leak, a toilet catching fire (the way porcelain does), a broke pipe (unclear if they meant a water pipe or personal pipe), a space heater blowing up, the roof catching fire, ect. None of their theories explained why the fire alarm had gone off between four and six times.

Arley Trice, 1:38 AM: I covered my lights with my coat but it’s still clicking

Most students had decided to stay up for a few more hours in case the alarms went off again, some had no choice. The lights in a few students’ dorms were still going off. The rest of the group chat had moved on to securing popcorn for their impending all nighter.

Gerry Orz, 1:00 PM: It was a burst pipe that caused flooding, idk why that would trigger a fire alarm, maybe it flooded an electrical circuit or something.

In conclusion, please fix Rubin’s pipes. @AndyHams