This is part of what I was talking about at our mtg last night. I really don't understand the zombie rules on this show anymore. The zombies will either hear the tiniest noise and come, or you can whisper right next to them and they don't notice as long as you are wearing a dead meat poncho.
And the fire stuff? I know they are attracted to light and heat, but is that enough to distract them when they are 5 feet from food? I didn't get that part at all... food, food, oh wait, I'll just walking into this fire now.
You have meetings to discuss the plot of this show? Wow! I thought I was a fan...but I'm no where near this level!
As far as the fire and what zombies are attracted to...it's pretty established that they are attracted to loud sounds...at least louder than their normal moans and groans. That's why if you are hiding your scent with a meat poncho, you can whisper to anyone else in your group and the dead don't notice. (BTW, this is very prevalent in the recent storyline in the comics.)
Also, the average walker's eyesight is not the best...that's another reason the meat poncho works...otherwise you would have to be like William F. Murray and in full make-up like in zombieland. As with the loud noises, a bright light like the fire would attract zombies and change the direction of a herd even. Think of how in Land of the Dead, the scavengers would use fireworks to distract zombies.
I'll have to look at the episode again, but I don't think any of the zombies that Rick and Company were fighting just turned and went towards the fire...but the ones that were just shambling around inside the walls were attracted to the fire.
Overall, I thought the episode was awesome! From what they talked about on the Talking Dead, the season is only going to ramp up from here. That's going to be insane!