Horrifying

How many times does this have to happen:

A fire ignited by a flare from a band’s pyrotechnic spectacle swept through a nightclub filled with hundreds of university students early on Sunday morning in Santa Maria, a city in southern Brazil, killing at least 232 people, police officials said.

Health workers hauled bodies from the club, called Kiss, to hospitals in Santa Maria throughout Sunday morning. Some of the survivors were taken to the nearby city of Porto Alegre to be treated for burns. Valdeci Oliveira, a local legislator, said he saw piles of bodies in the nightclub’s bathrooms.

Col. Guido Pedroso de Melo, the commander of the city’s Fire Department, said security guards had locked exits, which intensified the panic as people in the club stampeded to the doors.

It’s the same script for these disasters over and over again- lots of drunks, indoor pyrotechnics, overcrowding, and “security” locking damned doors, turning the place into a death trap.






95 replies
  1. 1
    Yutsano says:

    Until the Brazilian public has declared enough and demands the laws be changed. But hey, the industry will regulate itself, amirite?

  2. 2
    Maude says:

    @Yutsano:
    This ought to get that done. So far, 232 people have died.
    What a tragedy.

  3. 3
    The Dangerman says:

    …and “security” locking damned doors…

    How braindead do you have to be to lock doors AND have indoor fireworks? One or the other is braindead enough, but both? Good grief.

  4. 4
    dmsilev says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cocoanut_Grove_fire

    You’d think that in the 70-some years since, we’d have learned something.

  5. 5
    ruemara says:

    until someone important dies.

  6. 6
    Violet says:

    From the article:

    More broadly, the blaze may focus attention on issues of accountability in Brazil and point to the relaxed enforcement of measures aimed at protecting citizens in an economy that is on solid footing. Preventable disasters still commonly claim lives in Brazil, as illustrated by Rio de Janeiro’s building collapses, manhole explosions and trolley mishaps.

    “Relaxed enforcement of measures aimed at protecting citizens.” That would never happen here, of course.

  7. 7
    ant says:

    couple of years ago, we went to a night club in Cancun Mexico….. They had that place packed like sardines….. Simply aint no way we all could have gotten out in less 2 hours….

    It was a big contrast to our own Octoberfest celebrations we have annually in my home town…

    The bouncers count as you go in the bar. When they get to certain number, you have to wait till people come out. Always plenty of room to move around inside.

    The fire dept can be seen going from bar to bar insuring enforcement, and doing head counts.

  8. 8
  9. 9
    efgoldman says:

    @dmsilev:

    You’d think that in the 70-some years since, we’d have learned something.

    My mom was a young nurse in Boston when that happened, I think at Beth Israel. She talked about it for years, especially about the hospitals that turned away victims.

    More recently, in my current neck of the woods, was this:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T.....tclub_fire
    It happened just a year after we moved to RI. They’re still talking about it, and especially so this year, the 10th anniversary.

    ETA: And I’m slow on the draw (as usual). @Mr Stagger Lee: got there first.

  10. 10
    redshirt says:

    Besides being forcibly buried alive, this scenario is my worst nightmare. Imagine the panic you’d feel as you try and escape, but you’re trapped in between walls of other panicked people. You could be the most ninja person in the world and there’d be nothing you could do. Terrifying and a truly horrific way to die, both actually and since it could be prevented by proper safety protocols.

  11. 11
    efgoldman says:

    @Violet:

    “Relaxed enforcement of measures aimed at protecting citizens.” That would never happen here, of course.

    At least, not where well-off white people live, no.

    ETA: And the contents of this post have called FEMA ads, for emergency supplies, in the margins.

  12. 12
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Sickening. Why do the doors have to be locked so that in emergencies no one escapes?

  13. 13
    efgoldman says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    Why do the doors have to be locked so that in emergencies no one escapes?

    Thins the herd.

  14. 14
    Raven says:

    @Patricia Kayden: Do you really not understand why a place that charges to enter has the doors locked? Come on folks, this is tragic but get a clue.

  15. 15
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @dmsilev:

    No.

    No one, especially the avaricious, learns anything from these fully predictable and therefore preventable tragedies.

    The market will correct it. Perhaps through a bunch of lawsuits by survivors…oh, wait, “tort reform” has put the kibosh on THAT remedy…

  16. 16
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Patricia Kayden:
    They lock the exits, including the emergency ones, so that people can’t sneak in that way.

  17. 17
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @ruemara:

    Like perhaps one of the Bush twins? Chelsea Clinton? That might spark some outrage?

  18. 18
    Aimai says:

    @Raven: Ffs it’s brazil. They could hire a bouncer for each exit for next to no money. It’s the fact that they also seem to have people settle their bills while exiting that makes it necessary to force everyone out one door. If everyone paid for their drinks up front you wouldn’t be risking more than the cover charge.

  19. 19
    efgoldman says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    No one, especially the avaricious, learns anything from these fully predictable and therefore preventable tragedies.

    Fortunately, not always true:

    In the year that followed the fire, Massachusetts and other states enacted laws for public establishments banning flammable decorations and inward-swinging exit doors, and requiring exit signs to be visible at all times (meaning that the exit signs had to have independent sources of electricity, and be easily readable in even the thickest smoke). The new laws also required that revolving doors used for egress must either be flanked by at least one normal, outward-swinging door, or retrofitted to permit the individual door leaves to fold flat to permit free-flowing traffic in a panic situation, and further required that no emergency exits be chained or bolted shut in such a way as to bar escape through the doors during a panic or emergency situation.
    Commissions were established by several states that would levy heavy fines or even shut down establishments for infractions of any of these laws. These later became the basis for several federal fire laws and code restrictions placed on nightclubs, theaters, banks, public buildings, and restaurants across the nation. It also led to the formation of several national organizations dedicated to fire safety

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C.....estigation

  20. 20
    Mark S. says:

    @Raven: @Amir Khalid:

    Fire exit doors are locked from the outside but not the inside. Most of them are designed to set off the fire alarm if you open them. There’s absolutely no excuse for not having them if you’re in the business of having large crowds.

  21. 21
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @efgoldman:

    ZOMG! Soshulist Muslim Atheist regulation! Someone alert Rand Paul as to this vile repression of entrepreneurship!

  22. 22
    JWL says:

    Those poor souls. But, yeah, my first reaction was also WTF? The history of these horrible fires aside, the owners of the club must have been aware of the Rhode Island tragedy (that occurred just a few years ago).

    Yet still they OK’d indoor pyrotechnics.

  23. 23
    efgoldman says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    Someone alert Rand Paul as to this vile repression of entrepreneurship!

    Oh, I’m sure Rand is just stupid enough to oppose these regulations of the free market. Wonder if he’d let his kids go to one of those clubs…

    I just looked at his official pic on Wikipedia. Man, he even looks stupid.
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wi.....ernate.jpg

  24. 24
    PeakVT says:

    Here’s the street view of the place.

    ETA: There appears to be only one set of doors on the street side. There may be an alley in the back but it’s hard to tell from the satellite photos.

  25. 25
    efgoldman says:

    @JWL:

    …the owners of the club must have been aware of the Rhode Island tragedy…

    Why? Was it in the Brazilian media – especially in a city well away from Rio or the capital?

  26. 26
    Roger Moore says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    Why do the doors have to be locked so that in emergencies no one escapes?

    They don’t want people sneaking in through doors that aren’t patrolled. I’m not sure if that’s primarily for security, for revenue, or both, but there’s a legitimate reason to not want the side doors to be open except in the event of an emergency. The correct solution to this is either better security- station bouncers at the side doors to prevent people from sneaking in- or better engineering- have doors that open only from the inside and set off an alarm if they’re opened.

  27. 27
    Raven says:

    @Mark S.: There’s a whole lot of shit in this world that shouldn’t be.

    eta I do appreciate you explaining how emergency exit doors work.

  28. 28
    Raven says:

    @efgoldman: Hey, what do you know about Johnson & Wales Inn Providence?

  29. 29
    Booger says:

    It’s all fun and games until some stupid with a flare gun burns the place to the ground.

  30. 30
    PeakVT says:

    @JWL: From what I can tell, Brazil is pretty insular, so it wouldn’t surprise me if a nightclub owner had never heard of The Station fire. Besides, people tend to believe “it couldn’t happen here/to me” for just about every category of risk, and more so when taking a risk seriously would cost them money.

  31. 31
    Mark B. says:

    They lock the doors to keep people from sneaking in their friends through the exit. The solution to this is obvious, you station a bouncer near the exits and put an alarm on them. Locking the doors is fucking criminal.

    Edit: or I just could have said ‘what Roger said.’

  32. 32
    Gravenstone says:

    @Raven: This is an example of cheap ass owners who couldn’t be bothered to find the scratch to put on extra security in order to manually control the secondary exits. Hang them, publicly. Then leave the bodies to rot as a message.

  33. 33
    JWL says:

    @efgoldman: Why? Because news of that sort is reported worldwide in the blink of an eye. I assume you don’t live in Brazil, and you know of this tragedy.

    You see, years ago a fella named Al Gore began to tinker with computerized communications….

  34. 34
    Raven says:

    @Gravenstone: Of course it is. The whole conversation is stupid. It’s one thing and one thing only.

  35. 35
    efgoldman says:

    @Raven:

    Hey, what do you know about Johnson & Wales Inn Providence?

    We’ve eaten (Sunday brunch) there, but only once, and never stayed there.
    The School (J&W University) specializes in hospitality training. Its a legit school, and has other majors. The Inn is the principal training ground for the stoonts. The brunch we went to was fine, but not exceptional. The kids, as you’d expect, are very enthusiastic, but also nervous and can make some mistakes.
    The Inn isn’t actually in Providence. Its in Seekonk, MA, about six miles East. Depending on where your reunion is, it might be perfect or it might be inconvenient. Driving around these parts for visitors can be disheartening. Street signs are seen as a sign of weakness.

  36. 36
    gbear says:

    @Booger: especially if it’s at the best place around.

    Agree with everyone that all club exit doors should have an opener that triggers a fire alarm if opened. It also works as a deterrent for all but the most brain damaged of bar patrons trying to sneak friends in the door.

  37. 37
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Raven:

    I don’t know what the fuss is. Their skin is brown, they don’t speak English, and they aren’t even Americans.

  38. 38
    Origuy says:

    Since Rio will be hosting the Olympics in three years, there may be some pressure to change things. They will at least make a show of improving regulations, but whether or not they have any effect is another matter.

  39. 39
    Denny says:

    Wait, wait, wait, people: Pyrotechnics don’t kill people, people kill people.

    We shouldn’t be demonizing the pyrotechnics or the owner of the venue. Instead we should put the blame squarely where it belongs; on the people killed in the fire. If they had only shown the good sense to exercise proper due diligence and conducted their own inspection of the safety procedures and policies of the venue and taken the time to have their own independent analyses done of the pyrotechnics themselves and the decorations they would have been able to clearly determine that the venue was not safe and would have chosen to stay away rather than risk immolation. Either that or they could have come in flame proof gear and brought their own independent air supplies so that they could get out. Free Markets, bitchez……

  40. 40
    El Cid says:

    If more of those inside had been armed, maybe they could have shot those flames before so many people had died.

  41. 41
    dewzke says:

    Locked the fucking doors? What the hell kind of shithole hires morons that fucking stupid? My dog I hope the numbers can’t be true! It’s called a fire exit with regulations and shit that got with a concert of certain numbers. Heartbroken for the innocents. Aaargh!

  42. 42
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @efgoldman:

    I just looked at [Rand Paul’s] official pic on Wikipedia. Man, he even looks stupid.

    Stupid and smug. Can’t think of a more unattractive or more dangerous combination.

  43. 43
    Tripod says:

    This shit happens with depressing regularity. I’d bet most of us saw the ones that happened in the last five years in the news somewhere and promptly forgot about them.

  44. 44
    Raven says:

    @efgoldman: Great, I don’t think it’s far from Lancellotta’s. I’ll give myself plenty of time. I can’t hack the valet parking fee’s at the downtown joints and, since I don’t drink, driving is fine.

  45. 45
    Suzanne says:

    I am working through this very issue with a client right now. They are HORRIFIED by the cost of doors and hardware, and they keep arguing with me, asking me to go to the City for a code variance on the operation and fire rating. I refuse.

    This shit happens because many business owners are cheapskate arseholes. End of story.

  46. 46
    Suzanne says:

    I will also add that building owners and workers love to stack shit in front of fire exits, block sprinklerheads, pile shit in corridors and stairways…. Makes me crazy and if I ever see that in a building, I say something. Certain stores are notorious for violating code with their damn displays. ERGH.

    End architect rant.

  47. 47
    Double Nickel says:

    The reports I’ve read indicate only one door. Also bouncers initially stopped people from leaving because they hadn’t paid their tabs.

  48. 48
    efgoldman says:

    @Raven:

    …and, since I don’t drink, driving is fine.

    No, you don’t understand. In MA and RI, driving is a sport with rules based on Calvinball.
    [Aside to other denizens of this area: wait until he sees a rotary!]

  49. 49
    Bill D. says:

    Reading up on the Wikipedia account of the Station nightclub fire, I was struck by how many of the customers did not react quickly to the fire and delayed their exit, which likely contributed* to a lot of the deaths and injuries. Part of the problem is that most people do not understand how fires can grow exponentially, and worse, suddenly flare up into an inferno once a critical point is reached.

    I comprehended this myself only when I saw a staged Christmas tree fire demonstration on TV many years ago. Now,thanks to the wonders of the internet anyone can easily view how fast fire can develop. Note how little time it takes for these fires to develop into infernos, and imagine these scenes happening in a nightclub or similar crowded venue:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piofZLySsNc

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLHhG65fLeY

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPyrJbKJpIY

    *I’m not trying to take any blame away from the nightclub owners, just pointing out that regular people often don’t understand the degree of danger associated with things they have never closely dealt with before, so they may not react fast enough. I’m still pissed off and disheartened by the Station tragedy, and it was the first thing I thought of when I saw this post.

  50. 50
    Ohmmade says:

    That’s just the invisible hand lighting the fuse.

  51. 51
    efgoldman says:

    @Bill D.:

    …just pointing out that regular people often don’t understand the degree of danger associated with things they have never closely dealt with before, so they may do not react fast enough.

    No snark. I believe that to be true as I fixed it.

    ETA: How did FYWP allow three links in the comment?

  52. 52
    Raven says:

    @efgoldman: A Wankel?

  53. 53
    Geoduck says:

    @dewzke:

    It’s called a fire exit with regulations and shit that got with a concert of certain numbers

    In the US, yes. Brazil, maybe not. If it’s true there was only one exit, locked or otherwise, then what regulations that do exist probably aren’t enforced.

  54. 54
    Bill D. says:

    @efgoldman:

    No idea why the three links worked. Didn’t know I couldn’t do that; maybe that’s why I could get away with it.

  55. 55
    efgoldman says:

    @Bill D.:

    No idea why the three links worked. Didn’t know I couldn’t do that; maybe that’s why I could get away with it.

    Like Wile E. Coyote not falling until he looks down?

  56. 56
    efgoldman says:

    @Raven:

    A Wankel?

    More like a wanker.

  57. 57
    PeakVT says:

    @efgoldman: I think Cole increased the number of links allowed to three a while back.

  58. 58
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Suzanne: In NYC the nightclub fire to remember is Happy Land. From Wikipedia:

    The Happy Land fire was an arson fire that killed 87 people trapped in an unlicensed social club called “Happy Land” in the West Farms section of The Bronx, NY, on March 25, 1990. Most of the victims were young ethnic Hondurans celebrating Carnival. Unemployed Cuban refugee Julio González, whose former girlfriend was employed at the club, was arrested shortly after and ultimately convicted of arson and murder.

    Before the blaze, Happy Land was ordered closed for building code violations in November 1988. Violations included no fire exits, alarms or sprinkler system. No follow-up by the fire department was documented.

    By me: The club owner died in the fire, the building owner and the real estate manager were later investigated for their operation of the site and were not convicted of criminal responsibility. They were however, fined for building and fire violations. (Yes, this event was the basis for a Law & Order episode.)

  59. 59
    Punchy says:

    @Origuy: I have a good Brazillian friend and she says she is POSITIVE that both the World Cup and Olympics will be a complete disaster. Right now, they only have 2 of the necessary 14 futbol stadiums complete. When I asked why they couldnt use existing stadiums, she said they were so far out of code saftey-wise that theyd risk being death traps.

    Theres a hope that if they fuck the moose in ’14 for the WC that they can correct it all for the ’16 Games. But infrastructure is such a mess that it may not be possible….

  60. 60
    👽 Martin says:

    Proof that there are no capitalists in Brazil. Paul Ryan would have been in the back selling fire extinguishers for $1000 each.

  61. 61
    SLKRR says:

    @Punchy:

    The stadiums will all be ready in time for the Cup, guaranteed. The problem is not the stadiums, it’s all the other infrastructure of modern cities that people coming from developed countries will expect to be there: airports, decent public transportation, safe places to walk, etc.

    Note: I live in Brazil, and yes the Rhode Island fire was reported here, as was the Newtown shooting, Obama’s election, Hurricane Sandy, etc. The headlining stories from the US always make it into the news here. That’s one of the side benefits of being the world hegemon!

  62. 62
    Big R says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Narcissism with an unjustified certitude.

  63. 63
    Jamey says:

    @Punchy: Well there’s your problem right there: They’re spelling “football” all wrong…

  64. 64
    donnah says:

    I can still remember in 1977 when there was a horrible fire at a popular nightclub in Northern Kentucky, the Beverly Hills nightclub. It was a huge supperclub with a lot of segmented rooms, no firewalls, and no sprinkler systems. No fireworks, just a fire that burned possibly a half hour before breaking out.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B....._Club_fire

    I had a friend who was there with his wife that night. They escaped, but she was severely traumatized and could not enter another large venue like that again, not a movie theatre or even a shopping mall. They were lucky to get out alive.

  65. 65
    honeybooboo says:

    lol….Fat Bastard Christie lover and Lance Armstrong apologizer Cole can never be right about anything so may as well be a Monday morning armchair quarterback….lol

  66. 66
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Coming in late, but my wife was working third shift in the closest ER to the Station fire that night. She says the one thing that will stay with her until she dies is the smell. She was literally trembling when she came home. Nothing prepares people for this sort of thing.

  67. 67
    The prophet Nostradumbass says:

    @honeybooboo: Derp derp meep.

  68. 68
    fuzz says:

    I only saw this on my local news channel but the reporter said initially some of the security and even other patrons thought people were leaving to avoid paying tabs, so they were actually preventing people from getting out. Don’t know if it’s true or not but it sounds plausible, especially in the first few moments before it got out of control.

  69. 69
    efgoldman says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Coming in late, but my wife was working third shift in the closest ER

    Kent County? Gad, how horrible.
    Seems for a small state, there are a fair number of BJers.

  70. 70
    g says:

    @Mark B.: They lock the doors to keep people from sneaking in their friends through the exit. The solution to this is obvious, you station a bouncer near the exits and put an alarm on them. Locking the doors is fucking criminal.

    Yes, this is crowd control 101. Such a stupid stupid thing to do.

  71. 71
    Todd says:

    @ant:

    The fire dept can be seen going from bar to bar insuring enforcement, and doing head counts.

    That’s socialism. If you have enough deaths, then people will stop going to those clubs, and the businesses will fail. Free Markets!

  72. 72
    Roger Moore says:

    @Suzanne:

    This shit happens because many business owners are cheapskate arseholes. End of story.

    Safety is hard when accidents are rare but catastrophic. People are terrible at assessing that kind of risk. That’s doubly so when everybody else is taking proper safety precautions, so events that might have been terrible catastrophes wind up with very little harm. People are lulled into a false sense of security and let their safety precautions slip.

  73. 73
    g says:

    @Bill D.:

    Reading up on the Wikipedia account of the Station nightclub fire, I was struck by how many of the customers did not react quickly to the fire and delayed their exit, which likely contributed* to a lot of the deaths and injuries.

    Another aspect of the Station fire was that people instinctively try to exit the way they entered, when a different, yet unfamiliar, exit would be actually closer. Most of the Station fire’s victims tried to exit through the front door, even though many of them were closer to other fire exits.

  74. 74
    Roger Moore says:

    @g:

    Another aspect of the Station fire was that people instinctively try to exit the way they entered, when a different, yet unfamiliar, exit would be actually closer.

    This is why emergency exit signage is so important. A lot of emergency exits are made non-obvious for aesthetic reasons, or for security, so they need to have good emergency signage to let people know they’re there.

  75. 75
    Suzanne says:

    @Roger Moore: Yes, that is absolutely true. The other issue is that my clients, and most people I talk to, anticipate that everyone will behave logically and rationally during an emergency situation. “Why do I have to have three fire exits? If one is blocked, people will just go to the other one! Having three is expensive! Can I get a variance for that?!” Whenever I get those questions, I remind them that building codes have been increasingly strict over the years because someone died at one point because that specific provision didn’t exist at the time. The building codes also anticipate panic and overloading from the expected occupancy (to some degree).

    But I my biggest nightmare, professionally speaking, is someone being injured or killed in a building I design because of an architecture or engineering fuckup. And I try to educate my clients, but in the face of a thousand bucks for hardware per door, education only goes so far.

  76. 76
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @efgoldman: Yeah, Kent County. I think the hospital ran out of morphine that night.

  77. 77
    g says:

    The Station fire was a convergence of multiple stupidities. One, the Fire Department grandfathered the place to operate without sprinklers; Two, the idiots who owned it soundproofed the place with flammable foam; and Three, the idiot production manager for the band didn’t know what the fuck he was doing with pyro.

    There should never be pyro in a low-ceilinged place. Ever. Of any kind.

    The state of California has the most stringent pyrotechnic regulations in the country. I’m quite familiar with these regs, and actually attended some training. What the idiot production manager did at the Station was criminal idiocy, and he was convicted for it.

  78. 78
    g says:

    @Roger Moore: Since the Station fire, in the event venue industry, “best practices” now include an announcement at the start of the show, along with “turn off your cell phones” to remind people to look for the nearest exit to their seat.

    Additional good things are additional exit signage or other wayfinding marking LOW to the ground, since sometimes smoke obscures visibility higher up.

  79. 79
    Roger Moore says:

    @Suzanne:
    I understand your problem. I’m the safety officer for my department (scientific research) at work. Good safety is very hard because it involves convincing people to be constantly vigilant for things that hardly ever happen. And when bad things do happen, people have a tendency to forget their training and panic. My experience is that preparation is everything. On the one hand, you get things ready physically so that accidents are less likely and more survivable when they do happen. On the other hand, you train people until proper behavior is second nature and they behave safely by default. Training can also help with panic.

    I certainly know that this kind of thing helped a lot in the accidents I’ve been involved in. The one that comes to mind specifically was much less severe than it might have been because we knew in advance we were doing something especially dangerous and cleared the decks in advance to prevent any accident from spreading. When something bad did happen, I was able to fall back on training to know how to respond even though it was scary. I guess it helps that I’m not naturally prone to panic.

  80. 80
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Just this past Friday, I took a day-long Red Cross first aid training course. I’m no expert in anything, but I do think if I were faced with an emergency situation I would at least feel I could help hold things together until the professionals/paras arrived. But of course you never know until you’re actually dealing with a situation.

  81. 81
    SLKRR says:

    @g:

    The Station fire was a convergence of multiple stupidities. One, the Fire Department grandfathered the place to operate without sprinklers; Two, the idiots who owned it soundproofed the place with flammable foam; and Three, the idiot production manager for the band didn’t know what the fuck he was doing with pyro.

    Pretty much the same thing that happened in Santa Maria… flammable foam, pyrotechnics and a fire extinguisher that didn’t work. That and 1,500 people in a place made for 500 with only one exit. At one point, those outside were literally breaking holes in the walls to try to pull people out that way.

  82. 82
    TS says:

    @Amir Khalid: @Roger Moore:

    Safety is hard when accidents are rare but catastrophic. People are terrible at assessing that kind of risk. That’s doubly so when everybody else is taking proper safety precautions, so events that might have been terrible catastrophes wind up with very little harm. People are lulled into a false sense of security and let their safety precautions slip.

    Safety also seems to be hard when accidents with guns happen EVERY day of the week – multiple times

  83. 83
    Maude says:

    @Roger Moore:
    In Brazil, they stampeded. When people panic, they run.
    There was no sprinkler system. In NY, if the sprinkler system is broken, someone has to walk the building until it is fixed.

  84. 84
    Bill D. says:

    @efgoldman:

    Like Wile E. Coyote not falling until he looks down?

    Exactly!

    @g:

    Another aspect of the Station fire was that people instinctively try to exit the way they entered, when a different, yet unfamiliar, exit would be actually closer. Most of the Station fire’s victims tried to exit through the front door, even though many of them were closer to other fire exits.

    And quite a few others died in dead-end parts of the building with no exits but far from the source of the fire, where people fled attempting to find a way out.

    @efgoldman: @Roger Moore:

    Additional good things are additional exit signage or other wayfinding marking LOW to the ground, since sometimes smoke obscures visibility higher up.

    Look at the smoke in that last link in post #49, towards the end, for a nice example of smoke hiding everything that’s much off the floor.

  85. 85
    Bill D. says:

    Well, my correction to my attributions in my last post were marked for moderation so I guess they won’t get fixed before my five minutes are up. Sorry for the error(s).

  86. 86
    Roger Moore says:

    @g:

    The Station fire was a convergence of multiple stupidities.

    I think you’ll see this is true of most great catastrophes. They require not just a single screw up but multiple screw ups in several different places. In fact, I think that a huge part of safety planning is making sure that a real catastrophe can only happen in the event of multiple simultaneous failures. Unfortunately, the more successful you are in providing multiple levels of protection, the more likely people are to let their guard down and relax on providing one or more of those levels. That’s why outside inspections are so important.

  87. 87
    fuckwit says:

    It was 1971 wasn’t it?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ak12PBrTuw

    Immortalized in a rock classic that long ago, and still the lesson hasn’t been learned?

  88. 88
    Sgaile-beairt says:

    ….omg it looks like the same corruption, that allowed the beverly hills club fire to happen, allowed the owners AND their corrupted cronies, to get away with it scot free:

    http://www.enquirer.com/beverlyhills/bevhills.pdf

    the end says that the official state reports laid the blame on wiring & fire marshals not enforcing code….but the grand jury blamed the VICTIMS for PANICKING!!!!!

    oh and it was the THIRD fire there in less than ten years….

  89. 89
    Tripod says:

    @Maude:

    Asshole owners skirting safety regulations are the constant. Fire is only one of many ways to cause a stampede.

  90. 90
    Lori says:

    Living in a developing country for a year, I developed a strong appreciation for adequate regulations, law enforcement, and lack of corruption. My viewpoint is that they are major parts of being a developed country, not just the potable water, sewage, garbage, electricity, internet, and garbage systems.

  91. 91
    gopher2b says:

    All I can say is that when my kids are of age, they’re going to watch that Youtube video of the Rhode Island fire. The image of twenty+ people lying on top of each other, jammed into the front door trying to get out still is still in my head ten years later. And those were the one who made it to the door.

    Pyrotechnics, booze, crowds and indoors just don’t work together. You see that, you leave. Period.

  92. 92
    Lori says:

    @SLKRR: There will be stadiums built in time. But, how safe will the stands be from collapse? How about all the other safety regulations we can be much more confident in in developed countries? Countries with inadequate regulations, inspections, and law enforcement coupled with high rates of corruption end up with hazardous construction. (May be ‘certified’, but if all a certification indicates is someone was paid for the certificate, doesn’t mean anything in terms of safety.)

  93. 93
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    Played in clubs all my life until I stopped about a decade ago. I can think of maybe about five – all higher-end establishments – that didn’t have the emergency exits chained shut.

    Cheap-ass club owners want to get paid and don’t give two shits if you die, and don’t give two shits about lawsuits either. You’re not dealing with the smartest segment of humanity with those folks. Think about that next time you’re in a bar.

  94. 94
  95. 95
    MattMinus says:

    Once bitten, twice shy…

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