About 10pm on February 20, 2003 headliner “Great White” took the stage at The Station Nightclub in Warwick, Rhode Island. Excited fans jumped and screamed for the 90s rock band famous for its hit “Once bitten twice shy”. Around 11pm exploding pyrotechnics lit up the stage. Fireworks ignited wall insulation. Flames devoured The Station night club in less than 6 minutes. 100 people died. Over twice than number were injured. A similar, even more tragic night club pyrotechnic ignited fire killed at least 242 people in a Brazil nightclub just this past January.
Apparently, the world has not learned: Sprinkler systems should be installed in all buildings. Meanwhile, here in Portland, nightclubs in older buildings are exempt, from sprinkler requirements applicable to newer buildings. Problem is, older buildings pose the highest risk of fire.
Portland may, finally learn lessons from the Rhode Island and Brazil disasters. Earlier this year, Mayor Charlie Hales reassigned Portland’s Fire Bureau to City Commissioner Dan Saltzman. Concerned about “the no sprinkler required” Portland safety loophole, Commissioner Saltzman has charged Fire Chief Erin Janssen and Fire Marshall Nate Takara with drafting a new city council resolution to phase in sprinkler systems in all of Portland’s buildings old and new. The phase in would allow building owners and occupants time to get sprinklers installed and financed. Commentators expect that the new Portland sprinkler resolution will model the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) national regulations enacted in response to the deadly 2003 Station club fire.