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Brazilian nightclub fire is too similar to The Station fire in Rhode Island

We awoke this weekend to the devastating news of a nightclub fire in southern Brazil that killed 233 people and injured dozens more. But worse is the knowledge that we’ve been there before – and we could have prevented it.

The fire in that Santa Maria, Brazil, nightclub was not unlike a fire that ravaged The Station nightclub fire nearly a decade ago in West Warwick, R.I. In fact, the two events have been called “eerily similar.” 

Like The Station fire, Santa Maria’s Boate Kiss succumbed to flames sparked from a band’s pyrotechnics. Like The Station fire, Boate Kiss was overcrowded and at least one exit was blocked. And like The Station fire, dozens of people – including workers – perished in the flames.

But in the decade since The Station fire, changes have been implemented in Rhode Island to try to prevent another nightclub fire in the future.

In the wake of The Station fire, sprinklers now are required for venues that hold 100 or more people, night club workers must be trained in crowd control and fire safety, and money has been set aside to teach fire safety in schools.

The Rhode Island Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (RICOSH) – along with the Rhode Island Fire Marshall and the Rhode Island Department of Health – is holding an event next month to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of The Station fire. The event will honor those 100 nightclub attendees and employees who were killed in the fire, and will provide the training and certification in crowd control and fire safety now required for Rhode Island nightclubs. Please check back for more information on that event.

National COSH and RICOSH send our deepest condolences to those affected by the Boate Kiss fire, and pledge to do everything we can to stop another preventable nightclub fire.