Monday, January 28, 2013

Brazil Fire

Brazil fire

My sympathy to the victims and families of the Brazil fire.

That’s all I have to give. May grief lessen with time and may wounds heal.

I am taken back to Feb. 21, 2003. I woke up to my clock radio playing the news. The lead story was the Station nightclub fire that happened the night before. People had been killed and injured, and much was caught on camera, due to a news crew being there. Here’s a video of the tragedy:

I almost levitated out of bed.

I was supposed to be at the Station that night. A female friend of mine, more interested in hard rock than I am, had tickets to the show. It would be a fun night out for a newly single me and my head-banging friend.

I don’t recall what, but something came up and I could not go. My friend could not either. The tickets went unused. Thank God.

Reading news accounts, it may be that some sort of sound-proofing foam was used in the Brazil nightclub. Fireworks used by the band set the foam on fire. The foam gives off toxic gas when it burns. So it was with the Station, and I am amazed that the lesson was not learned.

Take a smoky, choking atmosphere, fire, panic, too few exits, and you have disaster.

Will we never learn?

My family has been (lightly) touched by this sort of disaster before. My father told the story of how my grandfather was supposed to be at the Cocoanut Grove Nov. 28, 1942 for a Boston College football victory party. BC lost to Holy Cross that year and the party was cancelled.

The nightclub caught fire, probably from a light setting decorations alight, and 492 were killed. Access to emergency exits, and the club’s confusing layout contributed to the carnage.

My father said that he knew his dad was supposed to be going to the nightclub, and was glued to the radio as word of the disaster came in. He and his brothers were relieved when their dad walked in.

Please, we all go places with lots of other people. That is human nature. Just do as most of my family does now: scan for the nearest exit. Look to make sure the doors are not chained. If they are leave, and contact the fire authorities.

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