OSHA Cites Nightclub and Band for Fatal Fire at The Station Nightclub

Aug. 21, 2003
OSHA has completed its inspection following the Feb. 20 fire at the Station nightclub in West Warwick, R.I. The fire, which killed 100 people, including seven employees, was ignited by a pyrotechnic display staged during a performance by the band Great White.

Derco LLC, doing business as The Station, owned and operated the nightclub. Derco was cited for alleged willful and serious violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and faces $85,200 in fines, while Jack Russell Touring Inc., Great White's corporate entity, faces a $7,000 fine for an alleged serious violation.

The willful citation to Derco is for installing a door within the exit route near the stage that did not open in the direction of travel. A fine of $70,000 is proposed. Six serious citations were issued to Derco for covering walls and an exit door with highly flammable foam; having an exit door indistinguishable from the walls due to the foam covering; no written emergency action plan; no written fire prevention plan; failing to designate and train employees to assist the evacuation of other employees; and failing to review fire hazards with employees. A total of $15,200 in fines are proposed for these items.

Jack Russell Touring was cited for failing to safeguard employees against fire hazards from the pyrotechnic display in that unused pyrotechnic materials were not stored at least 50 feet from unprotected heat sources; no pyrotechnic plan had been developed; no walkthrough and representative demonstration was conducted prior to the display; pyrotechnic operators were not licensed and approved as required; two or more fire extinguishers were not readily accessible; personnel with a working knowledge of fire extinguishers were not present; pyrotechnic devices were not mounted so that fallout from the devices would not cause injury; each device was not separated from the audience by a minimum of 15 feet; and smoking was not prohibited within 25 feet of the pyrotechnics.

Each company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to either elect to comply with them, to request and participate in an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or to contest them before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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