January 27, 2013
Below is a copy of a term paper I submitted while pursing a degree in Fire Science in 2003. I'm attaching it here because this morning's news leads with the tragic loss of over 240 young lives in a night club in Brazil over night. The fire allegedly broke out from a pyrotechnics display that communicated to the soundproof foam over head and the rest is the repetitive story of too many people, with a rapidly advancing, fuel fed fire and not enough avenues for egress.
I posted links to the tragedy on Facebook and one of the first replies I received was; "Where were the sprinklers?" If you have a few minutes, read below and see how this tragic history continues to repeat itself both here and abroad.
Respectfully and with prayers for the deceased,
Fire Safety Through Legislation
Indifference, Apathy & Extravagance U.S.
by Steven P. Velasquez
Today, the Asche building, where the Triangle Shirtwaist fire occurred is owned by NYU. Two small plaques are placed on the A,D corner. One mentioning that the building is a historical landmark and is maintained by the US Dept. of the Interior. The second, a euphemism by all measures, mentions the 146 “brave martyrs” that sacrificed their lives – so that we can have the best labor laws in the world? This author doubts that 146 people, age 13 to 20 went into that building that day, willing to burn behind illegally locked doors or by leaping to their assured deaths – for good labor laws?
A Perilous Quartet
Past Is Prologue
Not enough risk
Michael Terpak is a 2nd Battalion Chief in the Jersey City Fire Department. A frequent lecturer at the Fire Dept. Instructors Conference (FDIC), author of several fire service manuals and member of Fire Engineering Magazine’s editorial review board. Chief Terpak was asked why does it appear that no public safety legislation can be passed without “a body count.” Among many comments made “off the record,” one reason he said was “the lack of information exchange.” And that “the fire service needs to be involved in the decision making” process (Terpak). When a building, a development, a town or city is being planned, some of the last people consulted, and then only perfunctorily, are representatives of the fire service.
Not In This Building!