Monday 16 November 2015

STUPIDITY: Fires in nightclubs                          

Thousands of young people are addicted to nightclubs that give them music, glitter, fireworks and sparks. It is the latter two that are killing them. The owners and performers are equally responsible for those deaths. What follows are examples of this kind of stupidity.

Colective nightclub. ROMANIA Oct. 31, 2015

Survivors of a deadly nightclub fire and stampede in Romania said that the lead singer of the heavy metal band on stage first made a joke about the fire before it engulfed the basement club in downtown Bucharest. He said it wasn’t part of the program. He was a member of the Goodbye to Gravity metal band.

First act of stupidity

Between 300 and 400 who were mostly young people had been at the club, housed in a former factory, when a pyrotechnical show went awry. They said there was only one narrow exit. How are that many people going to flee a raging fire from only one narrow exit? The inferno caused a panic that killed 30 people and injured 180 others, some badly.

Second act of stupidity

A spark on the stage ignited some polystyrene decor. Photos posted on social media appeared to show a flame emanating from a pillar covered in flammable foam insulation while those in the audience applauded the band and the spectacle. The fire spread all across the ceiling in 3o seconds.

Third act of stupidity
There were no sprinklers in the ceiling. What kind of municipal government  gives  a  building  a  permit  for  a  nightclub   that chooses to not   have sprinklers in the ceiling?

The president of Romania and his cabinet resigned shortly after the fire.

Kiss nightclub BRAZIL  January  27, 2013
A fire started between 2:00 and 2:30 am on 27 January 2013 in Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, killing 242 people and injuring at least 630. Many of its patrons at the time of the fire were college students who were about to return to school. Most of the victims were between 18 and 30 years old.
it was an extremely high-casualty fire caused by illegal indoor usage of outdoor pyrotechnics. (similar to a signaling flare)  
First act of stupidity
Using any form of pyrotechnics indoors is really stupid.
Second act of stupidity
A stampede occurred following the fire, but since there was a lack of exit signs and emergency exits, these two blunders contributed to the deaths and injuries.        
Third act of stupidity
The flare then ignited flammable acoustic foam in the ceiling The use of such material magnified the stupidity of the owners that permitted pyrotechnics to be used by the band.
Fourth act of stupidity
Because of the greed of the owners of the club, the number of people inside the nightclub exceeded the maximum capacity by hundreds.                          
About 90% of the victims succumbed to smoke inhalation. Many people died as they either tried to hide in bathrooms or mistook them for exits. At least 180 bodies were removed from the bathrooms. More than 150 were injured by the crush at the front door and the rapidly accumulating smoke within the nightclub. Several injuries were also attributed to severe burns caused by flames, with 8 victims succumbing to their injuries in the days and weeks following the incident.         
Fifth act of stupidity 
The club's front door was locked and worse yet, the security guards hindered the victims inside from trying to break down the front door.  
On 2nd of April, 2013, two nightclub owners and two band members were charged with manslaughter.
The incident resulted in the inspection of safety features of thousands of nightclubs all over the country. In São Paulo alone 60% of the nightclubs inspected were found to be operating against safety regulations.

Station nightclub USA, February 20, 2003

The fire occurred on Thursday, February 20, 2003, in West Warwick, Rhode Island. The fire was caused by pyrotechnics set off by the tour manager of the evening's headlining band, Jack Russell's Great White, which ignited flammable sound insulation foam in the walls. 

The fire ignited flammable sound insulation foam in the walls and ceilings surrounding the stage. The fast-moving fire engulfed the club in 5½ minutes. Video footage of the fire shows its ignition, rapid growth, the billowing smoke that quickly made escape impossible, and the exit blockage that further hindered evacuation. The toxic smoke, heat and the stampede of people toward the exits killed 100, along with 230 injured. As many as 132 escaped uninjured. 

The fire started just seconds into the band's opening song, "Desert Moon", when pyrotechnics set off by tour manager Daniel Biechele ignited flammable acoustic foam on both sides of the drummer's alcove at the back of the stage. The pyrotechnics were gerbs, cylindrical devices that produce a controlled spray of sparks. 

The flames were initially thought to be part of the act. The song's music video clearly shows flames blazing around the musicians. It was only as the fire reached the ceiling and smoke began to bank down did people realize it was uncontrolled. Twenty seconds after the pyrotechnics ended, the band stopped playing and lead vocalist Jack Russell calmly remarked into the microphone, "Wow... that's not good." In less than a minute, the entire stage was engulfed in flames, with most of the band members and entourage fleeing for the west exit by the stage.

The nightclub's fire alarm had been activated, and although there were four possible exits, most people headed for the front door through which they had entered. The ensuing stampede led to a crush in the narrow hallway leading to that exit, quickly blocking the exit completely and resulting in numerous deaths and injuries among the patrons and staff. 

As many as 462 people were in attendance, even though the club's official licensed capacity was 404. Greed is the motive for the excess patrons.

More than one survivor later stated that a bouncer stopped people trying to escape via the stage exit, stating that that door was ‘for the band only.’ This brings to mind what happened on the Titanic. A steward wouldn’t unlock the gate in which the fourth class passengers were behind because he wanted to wait until the First, Second and Third class passengers got on the deck.  Most of the Fourth class passengers drowned.

In the days after the fire, there were considerable efforts to assign and avoid blame on the part of the band, the nightclub owners, the manufacturers and distributors of the foam material and pyrotechnics, and the concert promoters. Through attorneys, club owners said they did not give permission to the band to use pyrotechnics. Band members claimed they had permission.

On December 9, 2003, brothers Jeffrey A. and Michael A. Derderian, the two owners of The Station nightclub, and Daniel M. Biechele, Great White's former road manager, were charged with 200 counts of involuntary manslaughter — two per death, because they were indicted under two separate theories of the crime: criminal-negligence manslaughter (resulting from a legal act in which the accused ignores the risks to others and someone is killed) and misdemeanor manslaughter (resulting from a petty crime that causes a death). The three men pleaded not guilty to the charges. The Derderians also were fined $1.07 million for failing to carry workers' compensation insurance for their employees, four of whom died in the blaze.

The first criminal trial was against Great White's tour manager at the time, Daniel Michael Biechele, 29, from Orlando, Florida. This trial was scheduled to start May 1, 2006, but Biechele, against his lawyers' advice, pled guilty to 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter on February 7, 2006, in what he said was an effort to "bring peace, I want this to be over with."

On May 10, 2006, State Prosecutor Randall White asked that Biechele be sentenced to 10 years in prison, the maximum allowed under the plea bargain, citing the massive loss of life in The Station fire and the need to send a message. Superior Court Judge Francis J. Darigan sentenced Biechele to 15 years in prison, with four to serve and 11 years suspended, plus three years' probation, for his role in the fire.

It is amazing that so many nightclub owners and bands know of these dangers and yet they continue to ignore them to the detriment of the patrons. Heavy sentences should be awarded to these fools. 

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