Published Feb 21, 2003
Just watching the morning news......a nightclub in RI cought fire, killing 39 and hundreds injured, many critical.
Started from fireworks used by the band, Great White.
Another day another tragedy.............
Keep the families in prayer
I was watching that to.My thoughts are with the community as a whole.I can't imagine what it was like to be working the ER at Rhode Island Hospital.How spooky that the film crew was doing a piece on crowd safety to follow up on the Chicago fire.
There've been sound bites on the radio here in Wales of clubgoers, saying that at first they thought it was all part of the show then realised it had all gone wrong.
WEST WARWICK, R.I. (Feb. 21) - A nightclub erupted into flames during a pyrotechnics display at a rock concert, killing at least 39 people and injuring more than 150 as mobs of concertgoers frantically rushed to escape the raging fire. It was feared the toll would climb as firefighters sifted through the charred shell of the building, said West Warwick Town Manager Wolfgang Bauer.
The fire broke out across the ceiling above the band, and quickly spread over the crowd, filling the building with thick, black smoke. The entire club was consumed by flames within three minutes, West Warwick Fire Chief Charles Hall said Friday.
He said the club had recently passed a fire inspection, but didn't have a permit for pyrotechnics. There was no sprinkler system.
Most of the bodies were found near the front exit, some of them burned and others dead from smoke inhalation, Hall said. He said some appeared to have been trampled in the rush to escape.
``They tried to go out the same way they came in. That was the problem,'' Hall said. ``They didn't use the other three fire exits.''
The blaze broke out at about 11 p.m. during the first song of a Great White concert at The Station in West Warwick, about 15 miles southwest of Providence. A fireworks display that was part of the show apparently ignited the ceiling and sound proofing behind the stage, and flames quickly engulfed the club.
``All of a sudden I felt a lot of heat,'' said Jack Russell, the band's lead singer. ``I see the foam's on fire. ... The next thing you know the whole place is in flames.''
He said he started dousing the fire with a water bottle but couldn't put it out, then all the lights went out.
``I just couldn't believe how fast it went up,'' he said.
Hours later, only a blackened shell of the one-story building was left.
It was the second deadly U.S. club disaster in four days. Early, Sunday, 21 people were killed and more than 50 injured during a stampede in a Chicago nightclub that began when a security guard used pepper spray to break up a fight.
In Rhode Island, more than 160 people were taken to area hospitals, Bauer said. Firefighters worked through the morning Friday to pull charred bodies from the building as onlookers watched - worried about missing friends.
``They were completely burned. They had pieces of flesh falling off them,'' said Michelle Craine of West Warwick, who was waiting to hear about a friend who was missing. ``It was the worst thing I've ever seen.''
Chaos erupted moments after the fire started. Witnesses said dozens of people dashed toward the door, and some of those who escaped were later seen staggering into a triage center. Rescuers carried dozens of people on stretchers.
Hundreds of firefighters and police from across the region and dozens of ambulances were on the scene. Rescuers were pulling badly injured victims from the fire as ladder trucks poured water over the flaming skeleton of the building.
``It was calm at first, everyone thought it was part of the act,'' said John DiMeo, who was sitting at the bar near the front door when the fire started. ``It happened so fast.''
Russell told WJAR-TV he checked with the club's manager before the show and the band's use of pyrotechnics was approved. He said he felt the heat of the flames while on stage.
``This place went up like a Fourth of July,'' he said.
The club has passed a fire code compliance inspection Dec. 31 in order to get their liquor license renewed, Hall said. He said no sprinkler system was required because of the building's size, but a license would have been required for the pyrotechnics.
The allowable capacity for the show was 300, but Hall said there were fewer people than that inside.
Rhode Island Gov. Don Carcieri, who was in Stuart, Fla., to attend a governors' conference, said he planned to return to the state Friday morning.
``Our hearts go out to all of them. Our hearts and prayers to all of the families that have been impacted by this. ... There's no words to describe,'' Carcieri said. ``This is a terrible tragedy. It should not have occurred. Why it occurred is one of the questions that needs to be answered.''
Great White is a heavy metal band whose hits include ``Once Bitten, Twice Shy'' and ``Rock Me.'' The band emerged in the Los Angeles metal scene of the late 1980s, selling 6 million albums and earning a Grammy nomination in 1990.
They continued to tour and make albums in recent years, maintaining a strong allegiance of fans from their glory days of the 1980s.
02/21/03 08:25 EST
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WTF is going on? What a waste of life!
watching it on the new this morning, it is very sad indeed:o
all for a show .....pyrotechnics in a building w/o sprinklers. HOW STUPID IS THAT? I see another round of lawsuits, accusations and pain here. For WHAT exactly?
thought I was still seeing flames from the blaze last night on the news just now.. there is an oil fire near Staten Island.
dawngloves, BSN, RN
Death toll up to 60 now!
My prayers for everyone involved, including the hospital workers.
Apparently, the band has a history of using pyrotechnics without prior approvals from the club owners.
If this is true...hang em!
75 dead and they're still counting.
The band claims that they had permission from the nightclub to use pyrotechnics. The nightclub did not have a permit from the city for their use.
As far as 'hanging the band' is concerned....one of the missing is a band member.
The Stone Pony club, where the band played just recently, said that the band never requested permission to use pyrotechnics there and the manager was furious when they just went ahead and used them "putting thier patrons at risk". The owner's of The Station state through their lawyer that they never were asked for or gave permission for the pyrotechnics. The camera man who was filming stated that when he was backing up to leave people were saying "that's great" as the flames engulfed the foam backdrop, thinking it was part of the show.
The band has left town now, and their guitarist is still amoung the missing.
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