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Welcome! A trade association wholly supported by members.

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Presentation on theme: "Welcome! A trade association wholly supported by members."— Presentation transcript:

1 Welcome! A trade association wholly supported by members.

2 National Fire Sprinkler Assn Rhode Island Nightclub Tragedy Lessons Learned Presented by: Dominick G. Kass CFPS Northeast Regional Manager © Copyright NFSA 2003

3 National Fire Sprinkler Association (The NFSA) Construction Trade AssociationConstruction Trade Association –Engineering Services –Training and Education –Labor Relations –Promoting the concept of sprinkler system installation ManufacturersManufacturers SuppliersSuppliers ContractorsContractors Professional (Architects, Engineers)Professional (Architects, Engineers) Subscribers (Code Officials, Insurance)Subscribers (Code Officials, Insurance)

4 What Well Look At What doesnt (or didnt) work Aspects of the Station Fire What does work

5 What Didnt Work The Tragedy


7 RI Nightclub Fire The Station 20 Feb 03 To date, 100 people have perished Pyrotechnics display at a rock concert Code changes Deadliest fire in Rhode Island's history Nation's worst nightclub fire in 25 yrs.

8 The Station Nightclub Constructed in 1950. An addition was built in 1975. Town records indicate 4,484 ft2 of rentable space Total of 6,278 ft2 Value was assessed at $268,400.

9 The Station Nightclub Total of four exits; Main entrance facing North to the street 1 Northwest portion by the bar 1 located exiting the kitchen 1 located Northeast by the Stage.


11 The Station Nightclub Total of four exits Human nature: Attempt egress at original entry point, Main entrance facing North to the street: handled 80% to 90% of occupants attempting to exit.

12 Contributing Factors Unfamiliar with other exits and paths Darkness No suppression, automatic or manual Delayed alert to occupants These are all typical and identifiable factors

13 The Station Staff Reported: Stage exit was blocked by staff; for band members only. Bar exit used by only a few.

14 Great White Performing at the Station Nightclub Pyrotechnics were running at the upper left

15 Simulation and Test Conducted NFSA member and N.E. R.M. conducted a simulation of the nightclub using similar foam to show the effectiveness of fire sprinklers in an A-2 Occupancy. 3-inch thick uncovered polyether (pure polypropylene oxidepolyol) foam cushions having a density of 1 to 1.25 pounds per cubic foot measuring 36 by 40 inches.

16 R.I. Fire Simulation

17 NIST Report Fire Model

18 The Station

19 Without Sprinklers Five Foot Level

20 Without Sprinklers

21 With Sprinklers Five Foot Level

22 With Sprinklers

23 Unfortunately, History Repeats Itself: Some of the deadliest U.S. fires in clubs and dance halls: -491 dead, Cocoanut Grove club, Boston, Nov. 28, 1942. Cause unknown. -198 dead, Rhythm Night Club dance hall in Natchez, Miss., April 23, 1940. Cause unknown.

24 Unfortunately, History Repeats Itself: Some of the deadliest U.S. fires in clubs and dance halls: -164 dead, Beverly Hills Supper Club in Southgate, Ky., May 28, 1977. Defective wiring. -87 dead, Happy Land Social Club in The Bronx, New York, March 25, 1990. Arson.

25 Unfortunately History repeats itself!! -40 dead, dance hall in West Plains, Mo., April 13, 1928 (explosion). Cause unknown. -32 dead, Upstairs Bar in New Orleans, June 24, 1973. Cause unknown.

26 Unfortunately History repeats itself!! -25 dead, an ethnic Social Club, Bronx, New York, Oct. 24, 1976. Arson. -24 dead, Gulliver's Discotheque, Port Chester, N.Y., June 30, 1974. Arson fire in nearby bowling alley spread to disco.

27 What lessens have we learned? There would have been a major impact on the outcome had the building been fully protected by an automatic Fire Sprinkler system. We must look at the current Fire and Building Codes being used in all states and determine if the occupancy load thresholds are too high.

28 What lessens have we learned? Overdue to examine the triggers in which an automatic fire sprinkler system would be installed such as the square footage, occupancy load, occupancy uses. Education of architects, engineers, and designers in fire sprinkler Trade-Ups available in model building codes.

29 The obvious…? NIST- All Places of Assembly should be protected by an automatic sprinkler system regardless of square footage or occupant load. Fire cannot read building codes!

30 Code Development Consensus Code Process Process is a form of negotiating. (Everyone comes out of process giving up something.) AHJs should remember that codes are minimal codes. (But lets not go nuts here.) Min/Max state codes tie the hands of local control.

31 BCNYS/FCNYS A-2 Nightclub- 903.2.1.2- An automatic Sprinkler System shall be provided for group A-2 occupancies where (1) of the following conditions exist: 1. The fire area exceeds 5,000 Square Feet (464.5 M). 2. The fire area has an occupant load of 100 or more. 3. The fire area is located on a floor other than the level of exit discharge.

32 Imagine…your day starts out as any typical work day… My name is Raymond Mattera. The last time I kissed and hugged my beautiful daughter Tammy, she was in a black body bag. Tammy was 29 years old…..

33 ...and what did work…

34 Fine Line Night club 7 Fire Sprinklers activated, 2 over fire, 5 down wind due to front door left open after egress, Fire sprinklers were approx 18 inches below ceiling level, why? Drop ceiling removed months before when new tenant moved in.

35 Fine Line Night club results? Minimal loss (considering) No injuries NO FATALATIES!!!

36 Fine Line Staff Trained in evacuation Pointed patrons to exit Trained in fire extinguishers Checked to make sure everyone was out. Occupancy has fire sprinklers throughout!

37 Overview If Codes and general fire safety procedures are unknown, misunderstood or not enforced? Potential… Trauma (physical and mental) Fatalities High Dollar Losses Vacant buildings Degradation of neighborhoods Crime rate increase Law suits

38 NFPA ROP Meetings for 2006 edition Definition of bars modified to include bars with live entertainment.

39 Fire Modeling Study prepared for NFPA 101 meeting. Modeling included many factors- Fire growth, obstructions, speed of occupants, turning rate, smoke layer, 140º F. Study done for 5,000 sq ft building Before untenable at 6 ft. above floor 150 people could escape with one 32 exit 300 people- 2 exits Under the modeled conditions.

40 Code Updates NFPA 101 Fire Sprinklers in Assembly Occupancies New- 50 or more occupants Existing- 100 or more Egress issues and egress inspections Crowd management

41 NFPA 5000 New Assembly Occupancies- Festival seating changes identical to NFPA 101. Supervised Automatic Fire Sprinklers

42 NFPA 1/UFC Fire Sprinklers New Assembly Occupancies Existing

43 ICC Group A-2 Fire Sprinkler requirements changed from 300 to 100 occupants. Proposal to fire sprinkler all existing A-2 was denied. Multiple proposals to fire sprinkler other occupancies denied, to include Educational.

44 Changes to State Legislation Rhode Island Assy Occup- 100 or more: Sprinkler Retro Eff. 01 Oct 2004- Employee Training Massachusetts Legislation signed 17 Aug 2004 Assy Occup, 100 or more: Sprinkler Retro Employee Training to start in 2005 Change to Massachusetts Tax Code!!!

45 Employee Training Crowd count- prevent overcrowding Exits marked and clear Open flame use (permits, firewatch) Fire extinguishers Panic control/egress routes Area assignments- evac restrooms, etc. Decorations- only tested flame resistive materials

46 Changes to State Legislation New York State? Was ahead of the game in 2003: NYSBC Section 903.2.1.2 A-2 Occupancies Must have fire sprinklers if: 5,000 ft2 Load of 100 occupants or more (A-1,2,3,4) NYSFC Section 404 Fire Safety & Evac Plans NYSFC Section 406 Employee Training & Response Procedures

47 The 3 Es Education Engineering Enforcement Consider a 4th- Evaluation

48 Whats the answer? Ya cant fix stupid! But we can address the results of stupid.

49 Federal Legislation HR 1131 / SB 512 Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act of 2005


51 Contact Info Office (518) 373-9392 Fax (518) 383-3950

52 60 Minutes II investigates…

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