Fire alarms from the station nightclub incident

I wanted to make this topic about what fire alarms were installed in the station nightclub before it burned down in 2003. In videos of what happened, the fire alarm went off for about 1 minute before shutting off from damage. That shows how fast the fire spread and how deadly it really was.

NOTE: I am completely aware of what happened on that terrible night of February 20, 2003. I have no disrespect for the victims or family members of these victims. I just want to know what fire system was installed in the building leading up to the fire.

We had a topic about this started by myself about two years ago. The alarms sounded like Wheelock ASs or MTs. It is unknown what system the building had, but the fire alarms did not activate until thirty seconds after the fire began.

They were MTs though we don’t actually know since the NIST report went back and forth from calling them strobes to horns and never differentiated between them so its unknown what the actually system was and I doubt that we will ever find out what they used and if somebody pulled the alarm or if it went off by itself.

In other news, the 15th anniversary is coming up and I’m hoping to go to the park that was FINALLY finished last year. It should not take FOURTEEN years for a state to put together a memorial for 90 people who suffocated from toxic smoke in a horrific fire. I probably wouldn’t be able to compose myself if I went though.

The fact that there were no sprinklers is just ridiculous. I can almost guarantee that there would have been little, if not 0 deaths had there have been sprinklers.

I remember seeing the fire alarm panel in the NIST report. It was one of these basic ESL panels:

The panel can be seen on page 6-22 of the NIST report. This type of panel is very common in Rhode Island for small buildings.

Yeah, I saw it to. Only thing we don’t know is what kind of pull stations they had.

I’m willing to bet they had Radionics/ESL metal pull stations. Every setup I’ve seen with this panel has the dual action variant. I wonder if they were all put in by the same installer.

According to the NIST report the system was last serviced by RI-CONN Fire Systems, Inc. A search reveals that the company was established in 1983, so it’s possible that they’re the ones who originally installed the system.

What makes this more galling was that a WEEK [before the Station Nightclub Fire] in Chicago there was another tragedy in a nightclub called the E2 when patrons fleeing pepper spray released by a security guard to break up a fight rushed down nearby stairs. Twenty-one people ended up being crushed to death.

To add to this, the reporter who videotaped the fire was there because one of the club owners who was a reporter for CBS wanted a piece done on nightclub safety after the E2 tragedy a week before. And one of the brothers also did a report on how the safe exact foam that they used for the soundproofing would light up really quickly when lit on fire as it was the same foam in mattresses that lead to mattresses going up quickly but they still didn’t think about getting fire-proof foam for sound proofing.

Another tragedy is that both brothers who owned the club got slaps on the list. Great White’s tour manager got the harsher sentence and actually expressed guilt for the fire since he set off the gerbs which caused the foam to catch on fire. In jail he wrote letters to all ONE-HUNDRED victims families apologizing for his part and I think he cried during sentencing because of all the deaths.

This is why immediately afterwards the fire codes in Rhode Island got stricter.

Basic system run down then.

Horn strobes: wheelock MTs set on continuous

Panel: ESL 1500 series single zone conventional panel

Pull stations: ESL metal dual action pulls (unconfirmed)

Heat detectors: unknown (possibly chemtronics)

Sprinklers: NONE :? :x :evil:

Because it was a grandfather clause that since it was an old building it didn’t require sprinklers.

Also I blame the fire inspector who ignored the violations and got to retire with his pension.

I also blame the bouncer who prevented regular fans from using the alternative exits, stating that they were for band members only. I wonder how that person can live with himself now knowing that he prevented more lives from being saved. :x

Yeah I can’t really comment of that because as it turns out, I met the girl whose father was the bouncer and whose mother (the bouncer’s wife) died in the fire even if I just met the girl in passing and it was just once I wouldn’t feel right about it in any way since I now have met a family member of one of the victims and the bouncer in person so I’m not gonna say anything about it. All I know is that it was a tragedy. I STILL have problems watching the video with the volume on.

I understand. I just think it was silly for the bouncer to do something like that.

I don’t even want to hear the video. But when I watched it, I had a hard time digesting what happened. Why would a building of its age be exempt from sprinklers. That is just pathetic. Also, poor fire alarms that had also burned.

Yeah I’m more sad for the 100 people that ended up suffocating to death from the smoke than the fire alarms to tell you the truth.

I went to the memorial site on the 15th anniversary and I was surprised that it wasn’t as packed as I thought it was gonna be.

I agree. Those alarms were made by the hundreds if not thousands and can be replaced. Those people were one of a kind and cannot.

I’d be more concerned if y’all were more sad about the freakin’ alarms being burned than the people who died in a fire.

Hobbies aside, guys, this is why I want to get in the life safety industry, so that I can help to make things like this a thing of the past.

Back to topic: I would honestly shove through the security guy to get through the exit.

Could’ve sworn I saw one of those panels in a small drug store somewhere else in the state (quite a bit away from West Warwick), and I remember wondering if it was probably what was in The Station (a little chilling, actually). Can’t remember what pulls were on that system, though I could have sworn the notification devices were different. Now that you mention it, I’m not too surprised there was one installed in The Station.

Back to the main topic, I was quite curious to know what was in the building before the tragedy, and it’s quite interesting to find out. I would assume the outdoor horn/strobe was also an MT of the same series.

I still have strong memories of this tragedy when it first happened, and have even passed by the site a few years back (before the memorial was constructed). I have plenty I would like to say about this particular tragedy, but I feel most of it has already been said in the discussion, not to mention, I would like to stay on topic as much as I can. Igniting fireworks inside a building aside, I definitely do agree that there SHOULD have been sprinklers in place DESPITE the fact this was an older building, as well as more exits for egress. That, and the building shouldn’t have been as overcrowded as it was.