Was this another tragedy that could have been avoided? Another fire at a night club that’s casualties has entered the triple digits. How could this have happened again? Is it just another chance event? History is against us on this being chance.
For example a 2009 fire at the Lame Horse nightclub in Perm, Russia, killed 156 people when an indoor fireworks display ignited a plastic ceiling decorated with branches. Or in 2004 a fire killed 194 people at an overcrowded working-class nightclub in Buenos Aires, Argentina, after a flare ignited ceiling foam. Or a 2003 nightclub fire in Rhode Island in 2003 killed 100 people after pyrotechnics used as a stage prop by the 1980s rock band Great White set ablaze cheap soundproofing foam on the walls and ceiling.
Are we seeing a pattern?
As someone who has worked and operated directly in the bar scene for many years I’ve learned about safety regulations and crowd capacity in a restaurant, bar and night clubs with live music. I know that when I was working in these situations a severe strictness of how many people entered the building was regulated. On our busier nights we even had police officers along with the bouncers at the front door on keeping the fire code in check as well with checking Id’s.
It is in this light which the crux of my opinion surfaces. In Brazil a few days ago in which a fire broke out during a live music show and in panic 234 people were killed. Most were killed of asphyxiation or being trampled. Also most victims were between the ages of 19 – 25.
The reports have shown that the night club “kiss” had a maximum occupancy of 1000 people and there were about 2000 people in the club that evening. The exit was also the entrance!? There was only 1 way in and out of that death trap.
The last and most disturbing facts is that when the fire broke out, the security guards blocked the doorway and prevented people from leaving the nightclub. This was due to Brazil’s way of handling customers in a night club. People just start a tab and have to pay before leaving. This ensures serving a lot of customers quickly. I prefer cash bar, if the bartender is any good they should be able to handle customers quickly and efficiently anyway. The bouncers and owner clearly cared more about people skipping on their tabs than the safety of everyone in that club.
Another factor to such a high body count in such a small amount of time was due to the extremely flammable “spray on” foam that covered the walls and interior of the club in order to cut down on the noise. Sound familiar?
So after looking at all these factors I arrive at negligence. Negligence on the owner and staff and I would not be surprised if charges were laid in the following days and weeks to come.
My deepest sympathies go to the families of the victims. I hope in the coming future there are decisions made about the regulations and enforcement of the safety at clubs in Brazil. More fines and imprisonment should be pushed when owners are negligent and especially when it cost people their lives.