THE STATION NIGHTCLUB FIRE
On the evening of February 20th, 2003 at approximately 23:00 hours, the West Warwick Fire Department Was dispatched to a fully involved structure fire. The Station Nightclub of West Warwick, Rhode Island had become a fully involved type V Commercial fire involving as many as 300 occupants trapped; having emergency exits compromised by overwhelmed and panicked patrons.
The station nightclub was built in 1946. The single story structure was 4484 square feet, which included a main entrance located on the north end of the structure, a emergency exit located on the west side of the building adjacent to the stage, another emergency exit door located at the east end near the main bar area, and another door located in the kitchen.(see page _)
On the night of February 20th the band Great White was performing. Included as part of their performance were some pyrotechnics. These pyrotechnics were located on both sides of the main stage performing area; and were ignited thirty seconds into the show.
These pyrotechnics served as an ignition source for the polyurethane soundproofing foam located on the ceiling and walls proximal to the stage to serve as an initial fuel. The wood paneling under the foam was ignited as well spread fire through out the structure at the rate of one foot per second. An estimated 95% of the fuel load was the wood structure itself and paneling. After the foam was consumed the fire went from a free burning to fully involved structure.
At this time in the historic fire, occupant load and egress was one of the main problems encountered. It is believed that the inability of 3 known exits to handle the occupant load of 300 in the short time available contributed to the large loss of life and injuries. The estimated occupant load at the time of the fire was believed to be 400-460.
The main entrance was by far a main exit for panicked occupants. Approximately 50-60% of the occupants attempted to exit through this...