230 die in nightclub: The fire in Brazil is the fourth such nightclub fire in the past decade. Survivors of the 2003 Rhode Island fire, who saw 100 die, lament the failure to learn the lessons of that tragedy.
For survivors of a 2003 nightclub fire in the state of Rhode Island that was one of the deadliest in U.S. history, the fire in Brazil which saw more than 230 die Sunday is the latest in a series of reminders that no matter how far away, those who ignore the lessons of their tragedy can pay a horrible cost.
On a cold night in February 2003, the rock band Great White took the stage at The Station nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island. During the show, pyrotechnics set fire to flammable soundproofing foam that lined the walls and ceiling, killing 100 and injuring 200.
Over the decade since, survivors have come together time and again over news of similar disastrous fires overseas.
"We're very tight," said Todd King, one of the survivors. "You can't put into words what we saw."
He said he was woken up Sunday morning by a storm of text messages from others who survived the Rhode Island fire, asking, "Can you believe this is happening again?"
"I'm surprised nobody has learned," he said.
Another Rhode Island survivor, Victoria Eagan, said she and others noted that each of three earlier fires was caused by indoor pyrotechnics igniting material in the building. "I had the same reaction as the other three times," Eagan said Sunday. "We're doomed to repeat history and I wish they could learn."
In Brazil, police inspectors said they think the source of the blaze was a band's small pyrotechnics show. The fire broke out sometime before 3 a.m. Sunday and the fast-moving fire and toxic smoke created by burning foam sound insulation material on the ceiling engulfed the club within seconds. Authorities said band members who were on the stage when the fire broke out later talked with police and confirmed they used pyrotechnics during their show.