Building and construction industry is one of the most important organizations in a state or country. This is because the quality of work done by the contractors has a direct bearing on health and safety standards of the immediate owners and clients. For example, poor plumbing would mean health hazards in terms of diseases like cholera, typhoid and even food poisoning. Likewise, poor quality in buildings makes people susceptible to accidents like fire or collapsing of buildings. February 2003 remains as one of the most catastrophic events ever realized by Americans because of building and construction failure. This is an eerie incident that claimed the life of 100 people with many injured and tortured both physically and psychologically. The inferno at the station Nightclub located in Rhode Island claimed the lives of many innocent people.
This paper aims to survey the various building and construction regulations that were contravened by the brothers who owned the station – Jeffrey and Derderian. The paper tries to survey the possibilities of the inputs that quality in construction and management would have resolved in light of the deadly incident. John Barylick, in his book, “Killer Show” toils to provide a critical assessment of the entire fire accident by pinning responsibilities on both the owners of the nightclub and the various agencies concerned with the inspection of safety and health standards. He further goes on giving a heads up on the nature of corruption that might have resulted in the abandonment of the responsibility on the part of both Biechele who is unqualified to tackle his duties.
John Barylick, though an attorney gives an eye-opener in his book of the entire fire accident and his work is nothing short of amazing. He gives both an engineer’s point of view as well as disaster management experts. John points out to the failure in construction by the owners who placed highly flammable foam on the walls of the club to act as sound proof that was highly illegal. He points out to the population that was in the nightclub that was far much more that its carrying capacity paving way for a possibility of a stampede in case of an accident. Further, he stresses on the nature of the exit door at the back of the club. All these requiring a victim to exit the building within two minutes failure of which they ended’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’’ up torched. The responsibility of safety and health of any business enterprise lies squarely on the owners and the inspectors from both the fire department and ought to meet the OSHA regulations. These are facets that John Barylick insists on full compliance to keep accidents at bay.
The book read in this analysis of the building and construction menace is ‘Killer Show’ by John Barylick. The story line delves to explain the grotesque chain of events that took place on February 23rd at The Station Nightclub in Rhode Island. This particular incident took lives of 100 innocent people because of reasons that John Barylick tries to give in light of his detailed analysis and experience as a lawyer. He gives a vivid description including the murk and morass that led to the incident. These are not limited to; corruption, poor construction, lack of competence on the part of the firefighters and inspectors and building failing to meet safety regulations which ought to be the first consideration while setting up of buildings.
‘Killer Show’ gives insight to the chain of events that took place on 23rd February 2003 at Rhodes Island. There was an inferno that claimed the lives of 100 people with many injured and taken to the hospital to receive treatment. The moment was a very disturbing one for the Americans and more so to the families who lost their loved ones in the incident. John Barylick provides an account in his professional standard as a lawyer of the mind-gobbling incident providing the reader a chance to think critically and piece together the scenarios that might have led to that eerie incident.
The premise of his argument pins the blame on the poor building and construction that took place in building The Station Nightclub. He cites the foam used as sound proof devices as highly flammable and would deny anyone willing to elope from the building a chance to do so especially if the inferno were to spread real fast. Safety is always forethought in building and construction as opposed to an afterthought. A public place used by members of the community such as schools, bars and restaurants, and hotels ought to have safety synchronized within the whole plan of the building.
Moreover, the carrying capacity of the building ought to be carefully adhered to. This is in terms of the consideration of the scenario of the club. Space was not enough to contain the large number of clients at the club. The construction should be in such a way that safety and sound health is given precedence as opposed to money and self-aggrandizement. The nature of selfishness of Jeffrey and Derderian (the brothers who owned the station) is very expensive in terms of the lives caused by the accident and emotional torture that ensured as a result of such.
Equally peeving, is the fact that exists of the nightclub did not match its size and carrying capacity. A view of the entire plan of the torched building reveals five exits as drawn by John Barylick. The lack of sufficient space and exit places can easily cause stampede. Coupled with the fact that the cheap foam used for construction on the walls of the building can be highly risky especially should an individual fail to escape from the building within the first two minutes. This is because the spread of the fire would take a short time. Any public facility requires several exits for the sake of emergency and personal security. The engineers as well as the building and construction workers have to consider the intended purpose for a building and construct enough exits including emergency exits. This would serve to give more space and save many lives in the case of accidents such as the inferno at The Station Nightclub at Rhode Island.
John Barylick is a professional lawyer and very competent in his field. He has won many court cases and has good research skills (Barylick, 2012). Moreover, he has an obligation to keep both a clear track record, good reputation and sworn to serve his clients truthfully in respect of the law and constitution. Therefore he has what it takes to tackle his duties with due diligence. Moreover, the readers are stunned with the degree in which a lawyer can analyze an incident, giving detailed account of the criminal activity that might have ensured during the fire at the Station Nightclub in Rhode Island. Nevertheless, the masterpiece written by John Barylick is because of the distaste he had for the misappropriation of funds and the murk of corruption that resulted into the claiming of the lives of 100 innocent civilians. To me, he sound like an individual inclined by principles and ideologies to provide an insight to the reasons that might have caused a horrendous inferno at the night club. John sees this as giving respect to the dead and honoring them rather than gaining from his book. To be precise, John Barylick is in a mission.
The built environment was a lucrative business site with business booming in the area for 24 hours. It was a center, which proved so important to the people of Rhode Island and that is the reason why large number of people would make it to the Station Club for both entertainments. Moreover, employees were at the club and journalists equally got a chance to present at the stage. This in major ways was important to the life of very many in-terms of family and being breadwinners. To the owners like Jeffrey and Derderian, this particular business gained them a means of livelihood. A means to make profit and cover expenses. Though their methods identified many loopholes and exploited such systems in their favor, they had an obligation to adhere to the laws and regulations of the land but ended up disappointing America.
The ticket sale area also had a narrow entrance to prevent any patrons from getting into the building without purchasing the tickets. This was a key concern preventing the availability of space, which was for sure a key concern in the inferno. Arguably, this was a failure in the part of the construction workers. Should they have known the reason for the building design they were responsible for advising Jeffrey and Derderian to add more space. Moreover, this was the responsibility of Denis Larocque to investigate and find the ample reasons to shut down the club should any skeptical reasons present themselves in terms of public safety.
The systems placed by the government were not to blame. However, the individuals employed by the government to safeguard and ensure the security of the public were quite a disappointment both to the government and members of the public. An example is Biechele who had no special training in firefighting and must have been hired under dubious and underhand methods. Corruption is a morass that claims lives and places the lives of the innocent in danger, more or less like the life hanging on a whisker – a time bomb waiting to explode.
Inspection also proved poor on the part of the inspectors or they simply ate the deaf ear and concentrated on gaining the little tip offs that they received from the Station Night club’s owners (Jeffrey and Derderian). This was the case on the part of Denis Larocque, who was the Warwick fire inspector. Surely, he would have missed the back exit door, the highly flammable foam and the lack of sufficient space in the club all the years of his work. These are government officers who were an embarrassment to the members of the public because they let the Americans down and their actions led either directly or indirectly to the loss of innocent lives.
I believe that a similar structure built today with few exit doors, very narrow corridors and highly flammable foam on its walls will definitely suffer the same fate. The fire led to many changes in the construction of buildings. Space and safety regulations have been kept as the main objective of buildings especially those used by the public. Buildings are constructed in adherence to OSHA regulations to safeguard the health and safety of citizens. Cultural practices involving the lighting of naked fires in public buildings are highly prohibited. For a building to qualify as one to be used by the public, there has to be enough space to allow movement and enough exits to minimize the chances of stampedes during emergencies.
For myself I liked this book and would highly recommend it for the reading of others. John Barylick provides a critical thinker’s viewpoint in the understanding of the inferno at the Station Nightclub. He cites to the various engineering errors in the construction and the murk of corruption that surrounds the occurrence of the fire. The design of the building is poor adding
to the challenge of exit as well as acting as an impetus to the fire. The cheap highly flammable foam used for the construction as part of the walls of the building is surely a menace and a public disgrace. In short, the work of John Barylick is a masterpiece.
Barylick, J. (2012). Killer show: The Station nightclub fire, America’s deadliest rock concert. Hanover: University Press of New England.