Chief John Sinclair, 2016-2017 IAFC president, today represented the association during a special event in West Warick, R.I. to remember those lost and injured in the devastating Station nightclub fire 15 years ago which killed 100 people and injured 230.
According to a FEMA report, the Station nightclub was not equipped with a fire sprinkler system, which resulted in the inability to suppress the fire during its early stages of
growth. It was one of the direct contributors to the large loss of life, according to the report.
Leaders from the fire service, including U.S. Fire Administrator G. Keith Bryant, and people who survived the Station nightclub fire gathered at the Station Memorial to highlight the new federal tax incentive, part of the Tax Cuts and Job Act passage, that allows small business owners to deduct the cost of retrofitting their buildings with fire sprinklers. This will allow coverage of a large majority of high fire risk properties such as nightclubs, places of assembly and other entertainment venues.
Today's event was hosted by The Station Fire Memorial Foundation, the Phoenix Society, and Common Voices.
Here is a portion of Chief Sinclair's remarks:
Today we honor the lives lost and express our condolences to those who were forever affected by this fire and reflect upon lessons learned. The Station Nightclub fire was a terrible tragedy. The suffering that took place at this site is unimaginable. The anguish continues 15 years later for those injured and those who lost loved ones. The IAFC is proud to stand here with our partners. We promise to never forget what took place here. We have learned valuable lessons from this tragedy. The fire service has taken steps to lessen the likelihood that a tragedy like this will happen again. Changes can be seen to building codes, facility usage regulations, and more. Fire academies across the United States teach about this incident and use it as a way to refine their responses to fire in crowded buildings. One of the most important and lasting lessons that we’ve learned is the value of fire sprinkler systems. The research has clearly shown that fire sprinkler systems work and are one of the best ways to improve life-safety in a building. The IAFC was pleased to have worked with a bipartisan group in Congress headed by Congressman Langevin and other fire and emergency service organizations to support Congress’ passage of the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act. The IAFC hopes that this bill will lead to fire sprinkler systems being installed in high-occupancy buildings like bars and restaurants across the country.
Photo credit: Common Voices