Tragedy Strikes at Local Spelling Bee. Tragedy. T-R-A-G-E-D-Y. Tragedy.

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Students waited patiently to spell out requests for help.

LOS ANGELES — The 6th Annual Rosen Spelling Bee competition was struck with tragedy Saturday evening as the burning of electrical wires sparked off a fire backstage. “This was a one-off event: the fire-safety permit is up to code and the building was fully inspected prior to the spelling bee. Although the event coordinators were caught off-guard, they handled the tragic situation with great aplomb and efficiency,” assured Head Judge Michael McKinley, rapidly tracing out letters in the air with his forefinger. “I too jumped straight to action and caught hold of the nearest extinguisher. Ex-teen-gwish-err. Language of origin: German. Can you say that out loud for me one more time?” Although no lives were harmed, inspection reports of the burnt remains indicate a massive loss of large white name cards, vocabulary lists and modest, television-appropriate clothing.