Article: AFTER THE GREAT WHITE TRAGEDY
Articles / December 2009

Click here to download this article as a PDF file (.pdf) WHERE NOW WITH CROWD SAFETY LEGISLATION? Ben Challis JP FRSA LLB(Hons) MA MA(Law) Barrister  Visiting professor of law at Buckinghamshire New University December 2009 The Station nightclub fire began just after 23.00 on February 20th 2003 and ended with the deaths of 100 people, the fourth deadliest nightclub fire in US history. The club, in West Warwick, Rhode Island, in the United States of America, was host to the rock band Gat White and the fire began when sparks from pyrotechnics set off by the band’s tour manager Dan Bichele ignited low cost, unsuitable and flammable sound insulation foam in the walls and ceilings around the stage, creating a flash fire which engulfed the club with astonishing speed – in less than five and a half minutes the entire venue was ablaze (Pollstar Vol 23, Issue 10). Today the site where the one story wooden building once stood has been cleared and is empty, apart from numerous small crosses remembering the dead. Indeed February 2003 was a dark month for safety in US nightclubs as just four days earlier (on the evening of September 17th) twenty one audience members…