Catastrophic fire anniversary underscores life safety importance
Feb. 20 marked the 10th anniversary of the devastating fire that claimed 100 lives and left many more injured at the Station Nightclub in West Warwick, R.I. The blaze was one of the deadliest nightclub fires in U.S. history.
Fire investigators determined the fire started when pyrotechnics used during the band’s performance ignited polyurethane foam that lined parts of the nightclub’s walls and ceilings. Within seconds, conditions in the building became deadly and flames were observed breaking through the roof in less than five minutes after the fire started.
More recently, a January nightclub fire in Santa Maria, Brazil, left more than 230 people dead. Similar circumstances such as overcrowding, inadequate building exits, indoor pyrotechnics, flammable wall finish and a lack of fire suppression systems played a role in the high number of deaths.
“The Station Nightclub Fire and the recent nightclub fire in Brazil remind us of the threat that is posed by fire and the importance of designing buildings that keep people safe from fire,” Society of Fire Protection Engineers’ Chris Jelenewicz, P.E., stated.
Jelenewicz noted fire protection engineers are working hard to improve nightclub fire safety and SFPE is making a push in stressing the importance of nightclub fire safety.