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R.I. Tragedy

Discussion in 'Safety' started by Van, Sep 29, 2006.

  1. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Below you will find the story off the A.P., about the sentencing of the night club owners whose negligence led to the death of 100 people.
    I think I want to move to Rhode Island. I can take up serial killing, or perhaps I could become a structural enginner, I'm not qualified but apparently that's not a problem in Rhode Island. Who knows maybe I could just kill 50 people and get off with just probabtion.

    If you ever attempt to do something onstage that you are not qualified for or if you ever have reservations about the safety of something you are doing, Remeber this story. If someone ever asks you, " Well couldn't you just ......? " you refer them to this story. As a T.D. I take my job extremely seriously, The safety and health of the Actors, Technicians, House Staff and the Public is my responsibility. It truly disgusts me that these slimeballs can get away with a slap on the wrist If it were up to me I'd make sure they were never allowed to own a bussiness again. Something tells me they'll be out of prison and starting a new club before you know it. Plea Bargains, What does the public get out of it in this instance ? It's supposed to be a bargain. That's a two way street. ok My rant is done for now But I'm still seething.




    Victims' kin furious at R.I. sentencing
    By ERIC TUCKER, Associated Press Writer 13 minutes ago


    WARWICK, R.I. - Relatives of the 100 people killed in a nightclub fire vented their grief and fury at the judge and the legal system Friday but were unable to derail a plea bargain in which one of the club's owners received four years behind bars and the other got no prison time at all.
    Michael Derderian, who received the prison sentence, and his brother, Jeffrey, pleaded no contest to 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter in the 2003 blaze, which was sparked by a rock group's pyrotechnics and quickly engulfed The Station nightclub because the Derderians had installed highly flammable foam on the walls to ease neighbors' noise concerns.
    Judge Francis Darigan admonished the victims' relatives not to try to talk him out of approving a plea bargain for the Derderians. But many of them bitterly ignored the warning in a sentencing so turbulent that the judge abruptly recessed the proceedings at one point to defuse the tension in the room.
    "Lady Justice in Rhode Island is blind, but she's also deaf," Jay McLaughlin, the brother-in-law of two of the victims, told the judge. Other family members applauded as he returned to his seat.
    "Before I read my statement, I'd like to just say I will address you, but I will not say `Your Honor.' I don't think you're an honorable man. I don't respect you," said Annmarie Swidwa, the mother of 25-year-old Bridget Sanetti.
    The judge, though, refused to reconsider the plea bargain, saying it would spare the victims and all of Rhode Island from having to "relive the moments of this tragedy" and would "avoid an extremely lengthy, costly and heartrending trial whose outcome was uncertain."
    "I understand how you feel about this case," the judge told family members. "My greatest regret, however, most sincere regret, is that this criminal justice system cannot give you the relief you seek.
    Victims' families were angry not only over the sentences but because they believed a trial would have told them more about how and why their loved ones died.
    Shortly before the judge imposed the sentence, Jeffrey Derderian — a 39-year-old former television reporter who was there that night while a TV cameraman filmed footage for a story on safety in public places — tearfully apologized for the heartache he had caused and recounted the chaotic scene.
    "The fire moved so fast. I was scared. I wish I did a better job," he said. "There are many days that I wish I didn't make it out of that building, because if I didn't maybe some of these families would feel better."
    He added: "I know you would have liked it if I died, too."
    Michael Derderian, 45, who until Friday had not spoken publicly about the fire, also apologized. "We will do everything we can so that every question can be answered — so that all the facts, not just some of them come out," he said.
    The brothers said they did not know the foam was flammable.
    "If I had known now what that foam was, we definitely would have done things differently," Michael Derderian said. "We would have never ever put our patrons, our employees, our families and our friends at risk."
    The brothers wept during testimony from some of the more than two dozen relatives of victims who took the stand to recount how their lives have changed since the Feb. 20, 2003, blaze in West Warwick.
    The sentencing began in memorial fashion, with the lights dimmed and a screen flashing the photographs of each of the 100 people who died, while a clerk read their names out loud. Then, one by one, the relatives took the stand.
    The judge warned them not to go beyond the emotional toll and offer their opinions about the legal process or the plea bargain, saying "this is not a public hearing, it's not a rally." But many still tried to persuade him not to accept the deal.

    "I know you can do better, and I'm asking you to," said Susan Howorth-Pritchard, whose brother died in the fire. "It's the right thing to do."
    Claire Bruyere said her daughter Bonnie Hamelin was now in a place where "there is no corruption or negligence."
    "She was let down by the system, state and even me. I can't reassure her that someone was held responsible for her death," Bruyere said. She, too, was applauded.
    Both defendants also received three years' probation. In addition, Jeffrey Derderian was sentenced to 500 hours of community service.
    Michael Derderian received the harsher sentence because he bought the foam.
    The fire — the fourth-deadliest nightclub fire in U.S. history — broke out during a concert by the heavy-metal rock band Great White, quickly consuming the one-story wooden building 13 miles south of Providence. More than 200 people were injured, and many of those killed became trapped and died at the doorways, overcome by fumes and smoke.
    The Derderians' lawyer has said Great White did not have permission to set off the pyrotechnics, something the band denies.
    The fire prompted an overhaul of Rhode Island's fire codes, a wave of lawsuits and criminal charges against the Derderians and former Great White tour manager Daniel Biechele.
    Biechele was sentenced in May to four years in prison after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter for setting off the pyrotechnics.
    The Derderians pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter for installing flammable foam that violated the fire code. A federal lawsuit filed by nearly 300 people who were injured or lost loved ones is pending.
     
  2. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    If our justice system worked like it should those two "gentlemen"(yeah right) should each be serving the appropriate consecutive sentences that 100 counts of 2nd manslaughter deserve.
     
  3. Pie4Weebl

    Pie4Weebl Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    ugh that pisses me off.
     
  4. saxman0317

    saxman0317 Active Member

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    Honestly though, you cant plce blame on just them...theres alot of people that should be seving something. The tech that decided it was okay to shoot, the ones that gave him permission, the band for not thinking it through, anyone who had any idea. Yes, the owners put up the foam to ease locals, not the right way to do it, but that doesnt make them compleatly liable for it. Theres others to be blamed here. The problem is that people are to quick to point fingers and go just to get someone and not think everything anymore. No one person should be held liable for it unless he went above others heads and did it on his own (i.e., the pyro shoot without getting proper permission.) Technically, where was the firemarshall in all this? Fire marshalls shouls have inspected the shoot and i beleive that in RI its the techs responsibility to get the proper inspections. Theres all sorts of screw ups here. The club managers dont need to know how to do every little thing that happens in their club...thats why they manage,, they hire other people to do things for them because they dont know how to do it. They placed their trust in that tech, so it realitly, its more his fault than anything. The manager did his job by dealing with the problems locallly with the sound. The pyro should have done his job and had the marshall and cheaked himself that the area was a good place to shoot pyro off. if unsure, dont do. Moral?...dont jus tpoint, ask.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2006
  5. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Wow you're right Saxman. What was I thinking ? Pointing fingers, Expecting someone to take personal responsibility for their actions, That's absolutly ridiculous. Maybe we should find all the technicians, operators, and booking agents and offer them some free counselling for PTSD. They are probably all shook up over this. While we're at it lets find the Fire marshal and hang him in the town square! **** him, and his responsibilty shirking ways ! He should have sensed the Fire code violations. He should have known that if Great White was playing there would be Pyro and he should be there to inspect it ! Or that too much pointing of fingers again ?
    While I would agree there is way too much finger pointing and sensless litagation that occurs in modern American society, I think you are missing the point that Personal responsibility is point of this post. I don't care if you are a box pushers on your first load - in at some civic venue in a town you just moved to, if you see gross negligence on someones part it is your responsibility to bring it to someones attention. That little strategy goes right on up the food chain and guess who's on top ? The owner. You see along with the big paycheck and the ability to drive SUVs and snort coke off of $1k hookers stomachs also comes the ultimate RESPONSIBILITY for EVERYTHING that happens in your business. If the owners had heard of this event and gone to the band and said "no you cannot fire Pyro in here" then they would have been doing their job. If the band had gone ahead and done it anyway then the Owners would not have been responsible. I think, with the amount of time investigators put into this they would have easily ruled out particular scenerio before bringing it to trial. As for blaming the fire marshal ? I don't even know how to address that one. You mean to tell me that if I build a tree house, it collapses and kills my kids, it's the Building inspectors responsibility because he didn't come and inspect it ? Hmmmm Let's see I didn't pull a permit on it I had no Idea how to build it, It collapsed, Yeah you're right The building inspector is to blame because he's in charge of those kinds of things.

    Again I understand the point of ,"can't we all just get along ? " I really do but the point to this is there is also a point at which someone has to say , " Mea Culpa " and ultimately that responsibility resides with business owners, operators and Managers. Take some personal responsibility, it feels good to accomplish something you are responsible for, there's a difference between being responsible for something and just being there to get the Credit for it when it's accomplished.
     
  6. saxman0317

    saxman0317 Active Member

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    Im not sure you got what i was saying here. I understand where your coming from, and thats pretty much what im saying. All im saying is that the reason you hire someone is because you dont know what your doing, and want someone who does, right? You hire a contractor to build that tree house and it falls and kills the kids, is it your fault for hiring him or his fault for building it wrong? The big thing that pisses me off is that people simply want to go to the end of the chain right off and think that will solve the problem right out. What happens when that chain of command falls apart because someone decided that something didnt need to passed on? Im just syaing you dont need to cut off the head for and infected arm, if you get what im saying? Sure you stopped it, but did you solve the problem? Im not saying dont take responsibilty. People who dont take responsibility for their actions are worse than people that dont even try something in my opinion, but the manager had his responsibility to hire people that knew what they were doing, and if he did his job, he hired people with permits and the proper training, but is it nessicarly his job to make sure their doing their job right if he has no idea how to do it? Alot of times people meddling in things they dont know causes more damage. So yes, get rid of the manager that did his job, but the tech that made the actual mistake gets off clean, without taking any responibility? The one that planned, designed, packed, annd fired the shot had no respnsible action in this whole affair? It seems to me that the food chain may have ended somewhere and noone mentioned that maybe the stuff used could have been a problem. If the manager blatently knew that it could cause a problem and knew that pyro was a bad idea and let them use the pyro, then yes, he screwd up big time and hold sthe responsibility, but at the same time, shouldnt anyone good at their profession (esp involving EXPLOSIVES??!!) be able to double check on their own the surroundings and decide if this is the right thing?
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2006
  7. ship

    ship Senior Team Emeritus Premium Member

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    Have to agree with saxman on his main point for the most part on not just them but many people played a hand in this - culpable to some extent in personal liability or charged with breaking the law. Those from contractor that installed the foam, place that sold it, to fire marshal to various production managers and even security guards who are not sharing in the blame for it to the extent of their responsibility for it having happened. I also agree with Van on the overall at least 50/50% (or 40/40%) responsibility in the management getting a light sentence for what was done under their watch which I believe saxman does agree with also, just not exclusively.

    For me, the Pyro person from the band deserves just as much if not even more blame for this happening in my opinion. When in doubt don’t shoot as a general base rule all know who are qualified to be doing pyro, also given this person was in theory responsible for shooting the pyro, this person was very much responsible for both it’s load and the area (including flammable wall coverings about it) the pyro was shot around. This was in theory the most trained person on site with the effects of his pyro, it’s safety and the overall results were his given the conditions this person allowed the shoot within. What if the foam and fire had not happened, the pyro person will have packed up the rig, re-loaded and set it up at the next place from say dry as straw covered field ready to ignite in even starting a forest fire to another place where perhaps there was some lawnmower and gas can by accident left back stage. Remove the pyro from the event and it will not have happened. Add to this the person that both hired the pyro tech and approved of or considered it’s use without a permit. Lots and lots of details with the propagating cause to go around by way of this one band’s show caused a fire after how many years of operation of the business? Business was unsafe and a fire trap yes, but as yet, nobody before this show’s people and specifically it’s pyro person had burned the place down. A report I did hear confirmed was that he was out by an exit door having a smoke with a security guard while the pyro effect was in action. Where was he in the waiting with a fire extinguisher that’s by his side in doing his job as an added question of who I view as most at blame here?

    (By the way, watch the insinuations about nightclub managers even if not direct and a in general type of legend about what managers are doing in the back room. - I have heard of no confirmed reports that this is what these managers were doing and even if it was which I don’t remember this having been reported, it’s still outside the point of the general statement. I would recommend that you re-read Controllbooth’s policies and edit your above statement. Even if it were fact, it’s not a fact presented necessary to help your argument for culpability.)

    Van has a point that is supported by history, but prevention from ever opening up another business some day as a general concept is a somewhat harsh punishment and against civil liberties in having paid for ones crime. Can’t even open up a carpet cleaning service? Instead perhaps it should have been required that they can never open up a place of assembly or bar. Such a requirement would be more appropriate - this given it’s only one state and how do the other 49 states enforce this? Such a specific national ruling could be a part of the judgement that would cover the rest of the US as opposed to being prevented from opening up another business in general in that state.

    “...the tragedy had no effect on him while he was covering the story. In the same interview, however, he said he could never forget the sight of one victim - a beautiful blond young woman, lying nude on a marble - toped table in Thompson’s Restaurant, “looking like a classic Greek statue carved in alabaster.”“ (Tinder Box by Anthony P. Hatch p277) That’s what Charles Collins of the Chicago Tribune said in 1962 about the 1903 Iroquois fire. He had a lot in common with this other reporter Jeffrey Derdrian who reported and had a close touch with it. It is a shame that this reporter has given up the news due to this, but what was experienced I am sure was very much life changing for him and any survivor - including the managers of the club.

    Don’t know what makes Van suspect these club owners would have so much of a lack of humility or humanity that they would ever attempt to open up another club, but the point of his argument in their punishment not including a ban on ever opening up another club again is another shortfall in part to their sentence I agree.

    This lack of specific banning from doing it again in the case of the Iroquois fire allowed both the architect that designed the death trap and the managers of the theater to re-open it and other places, much less the architect to go on to design more of the same types of theaters in other places later which had the exact same problems. Egress and escape was a problem that was not really solved for another 30 or 40 years until the Chicago Catholic Chirch school fire where lots of people were trapped in the school by way of a fire bug starting a fire in a stair case. Some parts such as barred and locked doors however have been on the books since 1903. Believe it was the “All Saints Tragidy” which prompted further study into fire exits and egress. The non-trained architect Ben Marshall of the Iroquois fire in fact designed quite a few other theaters afterwards given his belief and that of the inquiry supporting it, that he was in no way at fault for even doors opening in the wrong direction, those locked or it being the fault of the audience members - the general finding in 1903.

    Say, doors opening in the wrong direction, locked and barred doors, doors using lock mechanisms that are not easy for the average person to operate... Seems very much like what happened in this last tragedy, much less the one in Chicago a few weeks later following a pepper spray incident and panic also I believe causing the loss of lives. The fire codes following the 1903 fire was supposed to have solved these specific problems. No matter the fire on stage, why could people not escape? Just about 100 years since fire code for places of assembly went into effect, the architect that designed the club didn’t know? The contractor that installed the doors didn’t know? The managers that operated the place didn’t know? The at least head security guard didn’t have problems with beyond the keeping people out, letting people out in case of emergency?

    When doing a moving violation, ignorance of the law is not an excuse therefore in operating a club with doors that just don’t open sufficient to let people out requires all above to be responsible for the installation 100 years later following a prime example of what will happen. There than is one set of examples of why yes, the managers of the club and in fact managers that allowed a over capacity crowd in were at fault but not completely at fault given who more knows fire code - the architect or the manager? Who knows code more, the contractor or the manager? Who knows fire code more, the fire inspector or the manager? What training school is required after all for me should I become a place of assembly manager that I am required to know the necessity of escape and egress? Heck, even the insurance inspector for the building who insured the place should have upon inspection noted things required to change before insuring them and ensured they complied by way of guidelines and inspection. Managers are managers at times - well intended or out for a buck. Lots of others they either trust or have to comply with who stand in the way of them just doing what ever they wish with people’s lives on the other hand. Not saying their sentence was specifically equitable due to what happened but I am saying that they while overall responsible did not get a lot of help as one would think required by way of lots of other institutions trusted with the public safety in these managers knowing how to keep their venu safe. Personal responsibility is certain but also expertise and responsibility by way of others as mitigating factors by way of those who should have known also did not speak up or do anything.

    We can say yes but this club grew from some small bar to what it became but than it’s still a place of business still, and a place that is inspected by the local authorities charged with keeping the public safe. Anyone in Chicago remember the tales of “Riverview”? Keeping the public safe is just as valid in it’s demise. The person who designated doors that would not allow the crowd to get out by way of barring doors afterwards or designating the wrong ones on installation took upon themselves the responsibilities of the architect in complying with the egress rules for a place like this. Who ever that person was from say if not architect, the contractor, to the head of security - security being audience and business, in not if policy, objecting to a lack of safety to escape. This in construction means both permits pulled or not in liability, permits approved of and inspected for what work was done or not, and an inspector of the work done, much less at least by city code responsibility an inspector of all public spaces and business for code compliance to ensure compliance.

    We are not talking about a city inspector coming into your back yard and inspecting your tree house - though if they see it they are allowed to enforce safety and local building permits I believe. Instead, we are talking about a public access space from gas station washroom to and even more important a place of assembly that must in getting it’s permit be inspected every year so as to renew it. Can’t say that a fire inspector had never been there because I believe I remember this point having been made - the fire inspector was there like one week before this happened if I remember correctly. What was the fire inspector who both did not note the doors or the foam on the walls doing there given he was not enforcing safety? This trained person in public safety was charged with enforcing if not closing down the place - this no matter what mistakes or pre-planned death trap the managers conspired to make. We I assume can all assume that the managers of this place did not intend for this to happen, and probably did not in some way know that the foam installed was at very least as flammable as it proved to be. Wasn’t exactly any warning tags or labels on the foam so how could they know? This especially if just as bean counter sound foam costing X amount or X amount, if not just a PO for foam they approve that someone else in installing it chose. This a detail we don’t know, how do we know some contractor from mis-guided theater techie to contractor did not spec and just send the bill for this foam to the managers? How do we know the extent of specific materal knowledge about the foam these managers had about it’s flammability even if they knew it was to some or any extent flammable? How flammable after all is a packing foam peanut? That’s foam, how flammable is it? One might theorize that it’s not very and just fine should one fall on the floor or be in a box of stuff backstage. Than again how many people have actively done flame tests on a packing foam peanut? In scope and scale, that packing foam peanut is just as valid perhaps in being something installed or about the stage that could potentially cause a fire to which nobody about has tested or knows the specific flammability for. What if a spark instead of hitting the wall hit a box full of packing foam peanuts or some security guard’s newspaper? Yes, it will have flammed differently no doubt and even perhaps had the doors worked properly the audience will have gotten out. Still for liability, one is responsible for removing boxes full of packing foam peanuts from the stage area just as checking to make sure of flammibility as a concept. One would on the other hand also hope that just as the person with the box cleaned up after themselves, that the contractor installing the foam did the test. The theater manager unless specifying it and installing the foam than is only the person that hired idiots by accident and trusted to their professional knowledge of their trade. The manager is expected to know tax law, the contractor the materials.

    This granted also that this accident has across the industry fostered new study into fire escape tenancies of the audience which is going to further refine safety code. That most of the audience tended to attempt to go out the front door of the club instead of out of it’s various properly marked (to the extent of current code) fire exits was something which was not within the concept of code in escape yet by way of the number of people attempting to get out of one doorway area - that which they entered instead of the closest and even a marked exit. To some extent, this was an accident no less than that of the Iroquois theater in that before it, building code was not written so as to consider audience tendencies to attempt to exit the door they came in. Your theater and all theaters of today even if very code compliant for it’s day will not compensate from what was learned here. Your theater and all theater announcement, drill and what ever else is possible does not compensate for the tendency for an audience to attempt to get out the front door by way of volume sufficient to what was learned here. This was in many ways while culpable, an accident. The managers of this theater cannot be held 100% responsible for what happened given nobody yet had before this studied audience tendencies to exit the door they came in so as to allow for enough exits for this. Granted barring some doors given the doors even went outward did not help but even if they did function, it’s possible not all the audience could have gotten out. Had the audience gotten out it will not have been an accident or news. For this unique reason it to some extent can be considered an accident to their defence. First it was not intentional, it was a long standing club that has had many fire/safety inspections by the person charged to enforce audience safety, and second because of an over site in code by way of how the audience reacts it was an accident to this extent at least.

    The club owners are very responsible for what happened, but also lots of others share in this. Punishment is one thing but I don’t discount from carpenter that installs a door who by way of paycheck and title calls himself a carpenter - yet does not have sufficient knowledge about his or her trade to that of the inspector that approved the permit to assemble an audience there.


    Further study, I was a TD at one point also. Didn’t ask to be but the old TD for my theater didn’t have time to devote to the theater any longer and I was the next most qualified to do my best even if not. I inherited a store front theater down town in Chicago while still in college to keep safe. As with most store front theater industry, a bunch of actors got together, found a space and started doing shows. Wouldn’t believe the amount of actor generated spaces that are unsafe out there, some even have tech people doing their best at them but only to the extent they know better or can. Managers be it of a theater to that of a club are no different than actors in knowing some stuff but it not being their field sufficient to know more than general concepts after this in the details. That’s the tech person’s job but what if you don’t have tech people sufficient for their job? Should it be required that all groups of actors hire the grumpy old IA guy in the white suite for their space so as to ensure safety in some $500.00 per month rent abandoned former greeting card store a group of people who want to do shows acquire?

    In my case, this group of actors and their very important but busy friend a tech person that later opened up his own small lighting company thus got really busy, conspired with the landlord who had a community interest to transform an old second floor doctors office complex into a theater. That’s noble intent on all parts and they got a permit from the city for doing so and for some re-construction done. Inspectors visited the place during construction and during the approval of occupancy by an audience. All set to go yet even than there was some major safety issues that either the actors did not know at the time or did not find important enough to stop their great plans. Nor did these safety issues stop the two theater space from gaining it’s permit from getting approved. Amongst them was wooden audience construction with storage space below, exit lighting that did not have emergency lamp fixtures, exit lighting that was not either battery backup or on a seperately derrived system from the rest of the building’s power. A front main staircase (and even rear) that was by code considered too steep to be safe, a front and even emergency exit door both of which opened inward instead of outward, and in general lots of wooden construction that was not beyond paint flame treated. Granted it was a place of assembly qualifying in that the main theater had under 100 people in capacity and studio theater under 40 people. Got it’s permit and it was official.

    The old TD in his absence accepted zip cord in the grid, a lighting grid of which was within arms reach of the audience when they stood up. The electrics and lighting in fact were a nightmare amongst other things such as the studio theater that had it’s couple of doors out but all emptied out only onto the main single width stair case. This stair case was only single width also. City code also allowed the power lines within arms reach of open widows, doors into the theaters that opened into the theater etc. Lots of wee problems yet it was approved and those who opened the place did not know any better. Heck, when I got there I didn’t suspect anything, nor had I any classes in school about concepts in code compliance for the theater space. It was always assumed or something.

    I was trained in platform sway bracing and learned lighting with a new importance given I was no in charged. Lots of mistakes I learned from to say the least. I was the best qualified available but not qualified. Short of me in the position there will not have been a TD or it will have fallen to someone less able such as the idiot that installed strip lights by way of S-hooks, yet didn’t even close them. Got the place as safe as I could but there was still and permanently stuff I could not change.

    We had our yearly inspection by the city, it was an outside the building inspection and request to come in. Stuff like plastic covering the windows was cited - very necessary given very old and bad single pane windows many of which were broken. Re-paint the fire escape etc. And the front door we got citations for. With the request to inspect the interior, every time I got the letter, I handed it off to the business manager who than handed it to the land lord. The land lord I’m told just did a pay off to the inspector so as not to visit. Don’t know the details, it’s just what I was told in getting worried about cleaning at times between shows or by way of stuff I was working on making more safe but not done with yet. This beyond which lots of stuff I did not know about yet. Inspector never showed up during a show, lots of newspaper reviewers showed up over the years - most of whom liked the place and its’ professional look and cleanliness as it were. Also, the insurance company didn’t really inspect the place in giving us the green light.

    Lots of little details in fire hazzard and or stuff about the place yet we did as good a job with it as we could and were constantly learning and actively working on making the place more safe.

    In the end, it was not inspections more burn out from working on the space, plays and having lives that caused us to close it down. The space had a short lived life as a church afterwards, no idea of what the building is now.

    None the less, this space was by far much more safe than most store front theaters in at least the Chicago area by way of intent and active making it so. I over the years got paid to design a number of theater spaces that were much more safe, much less visited lots of theaters over the years in the Chicago area. There certainly was more store front theaters than my space that were unsafe and probably still is. I can remember a few where live bare conductors were within arms reach of the audience, to a rat hole that even house lights couldn’t sufficiently light beyond the total hack of the space. Some spaces 15 to 20 years in operation these days which are still unsafe.

    Did my best back than but specific to this fire, I do remember at one point having found some 2x4 sheets of a sound egg cone type foam my theater acquired. I mounted them to the ceiling of the main stage in helping to control the echo factor. Didn’t do a flame test, didn’t realize I had to. There was certainly no indication on the panels as to their type or danger. Later I expect someone mentioned flammability and I removed the panels, yet such panels about the stage lasted a few months. Don’t know if it was the same sound proof and or insulating panels I used which caught fire in the night club but my theater manager boss never knew what potentially went wrong.

    Did my best, know a lot now given the experience. On the other hand given I was flying the theater by way of seat of my pants, there was lots I did not know. I did hang those panels, on the other hand, had anyone done the science of it I'm all set Even in my current job I'm often winging it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2006
  8. tenor_singer

    tenor_singer Active Member

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    I agree that the RI nightclub fire was horribly tragic as is the fact that there are now hundreds of individuals with zero closure to this event.

    I also find it ironic that we're currently debating venue safety here while simultaneously there is a different thread with TD's and technicians talking about bypassing safety features on vertical lifts.
     
  9. TheLightmaster

    TheLightmaster Member

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    The foam was not an illegal product, it was installed without the necessary fire protection, in a way that violated building code.
     
  10. mstaylor

    mstaylor Well-Known Member Departed Member

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    l also believe there wasn't a trained shooter involved but I may be wrong. It may have been the road manager that set the pyro but I may be mixing it up with a couple of other things that happened around te same time.
     
  11. ptero

    ptero Active Member

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    Yes, it was illegal in that context. There is no fire protection available to make it ok.

    The foam was the kind used for packing boxes. It was never intended for, and was specifically prohibited from, installation in habitable spaces and we found out why the hard way. One of the statements by someone who analyzed the foam said it was basically solid petroleum. It converts to liquid with flame and drips. Flaming drips.

    The guy who lived behind the Station and complained about noise happened to be a salesman of said foam. THAT was convenient. He suggested using the stuff and sold/provided it to Dederian. I have no idea if he knew his product was not proper for such use.

    The local paper had stories carrying this information in the days after the tragedy (except the analysis came later).
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2010
  12. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

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    Adding to the irony, adding absorption at the stage would likely do little if anything to reduce the noise level at adjacent properties. That entire aspect was apparently a badly misguided attempt by someone trying to find a cheap fix with the help of a self proclaimed expert. And that is an all too familiar situation.
     
  13. LeadHead

    LeadHead Member

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    I've been by the area of the club recently. The lot still remains empty to this date filled mostly by memorials and crosses.

    Having non-fire retardant foam is illegal in how it was being used. Normal polystyrene and polypropylene foam offers very little fire protection - as mentioned its essentially just a solid "oil". Get it hot, it melts, beings to vaporize and burns. Fire retardant foams are widely available - in fact my father works for a RI based company that deals a lot with foam, and they sell fire retardant foam.
     
  14. TheLightmaster

    TheLightmaster Member

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    I am talking about rigid foam being acceptable with drywall over it. Was it something different?
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2010
  15. DuckJordan

    DuckJordan Well-Known Member

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    Yes it was, The rigid foam behind drywall in use with construction has a fire rating (although not nearly as high as i feel it should be). This is why it can be installed in walls in construction instances. It also doesn't have the Drip affect of other petrolium foam products.
     

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