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The Station Fire’s Final Legacy

02:01 PM Tuesday 11/29/11 | |

Business owners generally grouse at government regulations but there reportedly is little resistance to some of the safety requirements put in place a decade after the Station fire.

Nearly nine years ago, 100 people died at the small, wooden nightclub in West Warwick, R.I., after pyrotechnics were ignited onstage during a Great White concert. The tragedy has had repercussions to this day, from lawsuits to manslaughter charges. And, for clubs and restaurants in Rhode Island and nearby Massachusetts, the last decade has been about improvements.

Now, Massachusetts venues are scrambling to meet the last of state regulations before liquor license renewals – but there appears to be little complaining of late, according to the Brockton Enterprise. New regulations began to be implemented in 2004, when clubs with occupancies of 100 or more were required to have sprinklers installed within three years. There were also new criminal penalties for acts like blocking exits, storing flammables and using pyro without permission.

  • Evidence Of The Fire

    Charred drums sit on a shelf inside a warehouse in Cranston, R.I., used to house evidence retrieved from The Station nightclub fire.
    February 20, 2003

    (AP Photo)


Some venue owners apparently tried to reduce their capacity to below 100 to avoid some of the regulations, and there were plenty of discussions between owners and fire marshals. But the latest efforts are not seeing as much resistance.

Establishments must train and test “crowd managers” – one for each 250 occupants, and each crowd manager must complete an online safety checklist daily or before each event that has at least 100 people attending, according to the paper. However, the exam is apparently simple, taking roughly 30 minutes and details safety measures.

In Bridgewater, the building inspector took things one step further and asked restaurant and bar owners to hire an engineer to set a new occupancy for each room in their buildings, the Enterprise said. Owners were pushed to make the changes by Nov. 30 before liquor license renewals come up in December.


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