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(WPRI Rhode Island)   The fire inspector who signed off on the Rhode Island nightclub where 100 people died in a fire in 2003 now living on a $4,360-a-month, tax-free pension   (wpri.com) divider line 24
    More: Asinine, Rhode Island, Denis Larocque, fire chiefs, disability pension, great whites, WPRI-TV, ground rules, building codes  
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6113 clicks; posted to Main » on 21 Feb 2013 at 4:22 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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Archived thread
2013-02-21 02:36:08 AM  
4 votes:
And of course that Fire Marshall was responsible for installing the flammable foam after the club was inspected and opened, and responsible for that band using pyrotechnics that had no place being used in an indoor venue?

Get bent, submitter. Any chance to bust on those evil Government workers, right?
2013-02-21 12:52:05 AM  
4 votes:

zedster: FTFA: Larocque also faced scrutiny for increasing the capacity of the nightclub from 317 in 1999, to 404 just three months later.

Any chance there was a chance in building code that lead to this?


Looking it up on wikipedia, The Station was converted from a restaurant to a nightclub, hence the increase in occupancy.

The Station was previously exempt from having a sprinkler system as a restaurant. After the conversion to a nightclub, it lost that exemption, something the fire inspectors missed.

It's not clear if the highly flammable soundproofing foam was present during the inspection, or installed afterwards.

The band used unauthorized pyrotechnics, the club was vastly over-capacity, and bouncers directed people away from fire exits to the main entrance, which was blocked by a stampede of terrified patrons.

Lot of blame to go around.
2013-02-20 11:46:46 PM  
4 votes:
Good thing he was in charge of the pyrotechnics that caused the fire!


STFU Subby!!1
2013-02-21 12:29:13 AM  
2 votes:
Per Wikipedia:

In addition to the 100 fatalities, some 230 people were injured and another 132 escaped uninjured.

100 + 230 + 132 = 462

And that's just the people we know about.

Per TFA, the capacity was supposed to be 404.

Yeah, sounds like he's completely to blame, right?
2013-02-21 09:37:17 PM  
1 votes:
If we would just pay fire inspectors a living wage, the fire would never have happened
2013-02-21 02:25:28 PM  
1 votes:

liam76: Jesus, that is really some weapons grade stupid you are carrying around in your head.


I cannot unsee what you people pitch me, what can I say?

liam76: You lied about the meaning of "ignore" to cast him in a better light,


By "lied", we of course mean that I went according to established facts.  But again, the fact that words actually have meanings is a long ways out to sail.

He ignored the door that swings in.  By any account I can read, there were other oversights.  Ignoring requires that he witnessed these things, was in full knowledge that they were violations, and then willfully did nothing about them.

The change in capacity negated a certain grandfathering that would have made the club once again liable for the state of the sprinkler system.  By all accounts I have read this was "overlooked".  Forgotten about maybe?  Negligence, certainly.  Willful dereliction of duty is stretching it.

gunther_bumpass: Maybe, maybe not, but you're far worse.


So you routinely take someone at his word when he says "out of the way, I'm an expert", then proceeds to wall-o-text you with some copypasta, and the only indication of a source he'll give is that it comes from a lawyer who has been intimately involved in winning personal injury suits against a number of defendants involved in the case (and is also hawking an autobiography on the matter, by the way), and very obviously has a stake in what is perceived to be fact in this case as if conflict of interest were no thang, eh?

Different strokes, I suppose.
2013-02-21 12:53:50 PM  
1 votes:

j4x: Consider yourself empirically proved to be a farking moron.


I consider that you apparently have no idea what a citation is.

I have a sad for you.
2013-02-21 11:32:24 AM  
1 votes:

j4x: Would you like me to post the location of the testimony from the guy saying he pulled a bunch of the PE insulating foam out of the garbage and nailed it to the wall on instruction of the owner?


Yes.  Next question.

j4x: Would you like the bit of testimony on how the Fire Marshall had to reach his hand through an opening covered with foam to open a door he cited for opening inwards?


You can if you like, I'm pretty sure the Fire Marshall isn't some cyborg with chemical and material analysis sensors in his fingers that could detect whether or not it was the illicit sort of foam with just a touch,  But you can.  It would certainly be better than dangling it just out of reach much like a failed counterstrike teabag attempt.

In any case, we've been over this.  He should have asked for the purchasing paperwork, as Hasty Ambush said.

j4x: Or how he allowed them to increase capacity by 100 people just because they moved some pool tables into the atrium?


Assuming we're still talking about actual citations, please bring them.  Why are you asking for obvious answers anyway?

j4x: But yeah, just keep spewing your uniformed bullshiat and calling out people who have actually investigated the matter.


So long as you can keep claiming to be informed whilst not providing any empirically testable proof you are, I'm losing no sleep over the amount of time I've spent looking up things.  I'm betting if I spent five minutes verifying facts, that's five minutes longer than you.

But go ahead, prove me wrong.  I'd welcome it.
2013-02-21 10:47:24 AM  
1 votes:

j4x: There's a lot of disinformation in this thread.1. The manager of the club gave the approval to use the pyrotechnics.2. The foam was installed before the fire inspector looked at the building. He completely ignored it seeing as he had to inspect a door covered with it.3. A bouncer blocked the band exit off at first.4. Someone actually survived the burning pileup ar the base of the door with only a minor burn on his leg.5. The band manager was pulling people from the club while the owner tried to pull off his bud light banner and the band sat around smoking cigarettes.6. If you were not out of the building in 1:30 you were either dead or severely injured.7. The fire wouldn't have been nearly as bad if they hadn't put the thin foam on top.of massive foam blocks they pulled out of the trash to soundproof the drummer alcove. That produced 90% more carbon monoxide and burned with such intensity that the building flashed over in 2 minutes.If you want an interesting read, check out the book Killer Show. It's by one of the lawyers in charge of the big injury lawsuit brought against everyone involved.


Nice post...

To me, the question is how the pyro was represented to the bar owners, and what they responded with. If the band manager said "We have Pyro Effects 'X'", will that work, and the owners said "Sure! We are 100% prepared for that.", then it rests on the owner's shoulders 100%. If the band manager said "We have Pyro Effects 'Y'.", and the Owners said 'Well, as long as you don't have 'X', you're OK.", then it's the band manager's fault. If they both knew what effects were going in and what the band was planning on setting off, then they share the blame equally. Obviously, either the band or the bar owners misrepresented the situation, or they were in collusion, knowing the risks. This is the part I've never heard answered.
2013-02-21 09:32:06 AM  
1 votes:

hasty ambush: Decisions, decisions choosing between a scumsuckingmaggotlawyer or an overcompensated government employee union thug who failed to do his job.


In honesty, I'd trust neither, but read accounts from everyone I could find that had any relevance to the matter.  No news source is "unbiased" of course, but some are less biased on some subjects than others.  A lot of research is selecting sources.  Sooner or later, reading between all that mess, you might be able to make some fairly solid points.

But you're right about corruption.  RI is rife with it.  Spectating RI Graft is like a sport around here, and not just in RI, either.
2013-02-21 09:27:49 AM  
1 votes:

PunGent: It's not the pension per se that bothers me, it's the automatic disability part, mentioned in the article.

shiat like that is making LOTS of towns broke, and not just in RI.

I'm all in favor of good pay for good work...but bankrupting your former employer?
So they can't hire someone to replace you?

It's already happened...Google Central Falls, RI, for example.


It is the pensions. A lot of these pensions are 80% of highest salary which leads to dumping of pto as salary to raise pension rates higher.

To get a pension of 80% salary as an annuity, ine would need to pay in nearly 40% of their salary iver their careers. Public employees generally pay in around 5% assuming matching, 10% with government pay in. These plans assume 9% growth. The pensions fail actual regulations private companies had to follow.

In the cities bankrupted in california pensions accounted for 30% of budgets. Public pensions are not sustainable. Period.
2013-02-21 09:26:01 AM  
1 votes:

SkunkWerks: j4x: Are you really going to pull the sources card

When your only salient citation is an ambulance-chaser seeking a lucrative tell-all book deal?  Yes.  Yes sir I am.


Decisions, decisions choosing between a scumsuckingmaggotlawyer or an overcompensated government employee union thug who failed to do his job.
2013-02-21 09:14:28 AM  
1 votes:
j4x: Copypasta Alfredo!

I can copypaste things from random places and not tell you where I got them from too.  Here, check this out:

I.F.: You ready yet? Im bearing to go!
SexyKarla17: Yhea im slipping out of my clothes right now, what do you look like?
I.F.: a Kodiac bear
SexyKarla17: ?
I.F.: Im soft naked, fuzzy and waiting for you to come mount me
SexyKarla17: Oh I love cute fuzzy bears, I walk up and get on top of you stroking your soft hair, kissing you gently as my move my way down your stomach
I.F.: I growl to warm you my cubs are near
SexyKarla17: huh?
I.F.: Bears get f**kin pumped when anyone is near their cubs
Sexkarla17: yhea hehe dont be silly..
SexyKarla17: I love how you growl as I continue to kiss you, while taking off your pants.
I.F.: Bears dont wear pants and you should cover yourself in Honey now
SexyKarla17: hehe you would love to lick that off me huh. I pour honey all over my warm wet body waiting for you to start licking it off me slowly
I.F.: I sniff the air to see where the sweet scent of the honey is coming from, while slowly snorting and walking towards you
I.F.: I Growl again, and start to bite you
SexyKarla17: Yhea that feels good..ooooo...not too hard now
I.F.: I bite harder peeling flesh from your stomach, and look up into your eyes to show you my mouth dripping with your warm blood mixed with honey, I then I let my cubs rip apart your limbs and play with you like a ragdoll.
SexyKarla17: what the f**k?
I.F.:uuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhh and im spent.


teehee!
2013-02-21 08:17:46 AM  
1 votes:

liam76: He ignored them.


Doubling-down?  Well alright.  but we've already been over this.  He didn't ignore them.

liam76: Was it because of inattention, mailce, or bribery I don't care.


Words mean things, but you don't care.  I get it.

liam76: At the end of the day he didn't do his job right


At the end of the day, he didn't have the resources to either.  Don't let facts derail that righteous indigence of yours though.  I couldn't respect you in the morning, baby.

liam76: FTA :A hand-written note on the inspection report reads "All OK" indicating the owners rectified the issues.

The fact is they still had exit doors that swung in. Indicating they didn't actually rectify it.


I actually missed that bit.  Congrats!  It's your only salient point so far.  Knew you could do it!

But yes, you're correct, if that's what he did, then he ignored... the door that swung in, anyway.  It's odd, but, well, this is the only article I've so far read on the subject that suggests this occurred.  Given this articles other numerous omissions, I think it's fair to say it's kinda suspect.

But I'll let you off easy on this one, I suppose.

liam76: You have any info showing there was another fire inspector who checked them out?


You have any info showing you read the sentence you're responding to here?

liam76: The fact is the guy was there and there is a record of him noticing huge violations and doing nothing about them.


He noticed a door that swung in and ignored it.  "Huge Violation"?  Maybe.  I don't know.  The rest is up for some serious debate, as I've already pointed out.

But all the cool kids ignore stuff like that, or so I hear.

liam76: If it makes you happy


Posts from you are always interesting to me.  Sometimes they are well-stated and well informed  (Seriously, I mean this), and sometimes they're wildly off-mark.  Guess which type this is?  You're interesting anyway, I suppose is what I'm saying.  Never know what I'm in for.

liam76: I also think any inspector who checked that place out when it had no sprinkler


Again, this wasn't an issue until the occupancy change- after which, true enough, it was "overlooked".  And as I've already said, I'm fairly sure Buliding Inspectors have a lot more to say about Occupancy than Fire Marshalls.  I doubt it's even legal for the Fire Marshall and the Fire Marshall alone to sign off on major changes like that.

liam76: unchecked foam


Again, the only way you were going to know the difference between treated and untreated foam (from what I know of it) would be to take a sample and have it tested.  This means having the facilities in place to do that.  I'm almost positive the city of Warwick doesn't.

liam76: should be fired.


Given the number of omissions, half-truths, assumptions, and plain old lack of scrutiny from your own perspective on this, I say you should take his job.
2013-02-21 08:11:50 AM  
1 votes:

hasty ambush: Just another Heartland Weirdass: Blame tree sclame tree. Some Govetment workers get honest to goodness pension. Lets all take that away. Freedom terrorists Satan and the little children.

A $4,360-a-month, tax-free pension probably also 100% financed by the tax payer is too much plus he is not without other sources of income:

Larocque is still living in West Warwick and owns several apartments, according to records from the tax assessor's office


Battalion chiefs now earn $58,191.12 yearly, not including overtime or any longevity bonuses. That means Larocque's pension payment would be at least $38,794.08. At the time of the fire, Larocque earned just over $49,000.

Link


I see nothing that says he isn't disabled, there is a layer of checks and balanced that have to do with disability pensions, its not as automatic as the board makes it seem (though no, the board doesn't get much says so). Also most police/firefighters are on a system where they pay into pension plans instead of social security in their job. Meaning this guy won't be receiving any social security. Would you be crying if it said this guy got $4,000 a month in social security disability payments. Many people get those as well.
2013-02-21 08:07:28 AM  
1 votes:

SkunkWerks: So, if the above is to be believed, the real problem wasn't the presence of the foam, but the fact that it was untreated foam. This is what incurred a violation of code related to the foam, if anything did.

Of course, in order to determine this, I imagine the Fire Marshall would have had to take a sample of it and have it tested. Notice the last paragraph? The bit about having a lot of trained people arrayed in a viable enforcement program? And how lack of this is not exactly unique in small municipalities?

I'll concede: the guy didn't do his job. However, it's also very probable the municipality didn't remotely equip the guy to do the job right either.



Or he could have simply asked ot see the The purchasing documents which indicate that the foam was not treated with any fire retardant;
2013-02-21 07:24:29 AM  
1 votes:

j4x: check out the book Killer Show. It's by one of the lawyers in charge of the big injury lawsuit brought against everyone involved.


Because a lawyer involved in winning a high-value class-action lawsuit in the case is in no way a biased source of information on the subject.

/sagenod
2013-02-21 07:22:09 AM  
1 votes:

j4x: There's a lot of disinformation in this thread- which I will of course "clear up" for you whilst completely failing to cite any sources for any of it.  I may as well have pulled it out of my own hinder, but you will feel enlightened nonetheless.


FIFTY.
2013-02-21 06:50:27 AM  
1 votes:
Finally found something.  Wikipedia's entry on the fire didn't have it.

http://www.fireengineering.com/1/volume-165/issue-1/features/4/stati on -nightclub-fire-revisiting-lessons-full.html

From that article:

1. Hazardous mix of building contents. This fire's ignition resulted from pyrotechnics being used in close proximity to polyurethane foam, which was attached to the walls and ceiling around the stage. It is widely believed that this foam was purchased by one of the building owners more than two years before the fire to be used around the stage as sound-deadening material. The purchasing documents indicate that the foam was not treated with any fire retardant; whether treated foam would have changed the outcome is debatable. The fire consumed the foam quickly, generating large quantities of dense black smoke. As the foam burned, it spread fire to the wood-frame structure; it became a "typical" building fire. The speed at which the fire burned was a significant factor in the large loss of life and can be primarily attributed to the pyrotechnics and the polyurethane foam.
The code issues. The use of untreated polyurethane foam was and continues to be a violation of NFPA and International Code Council (ICC) model codes as well as the regulations in use in Rhode Island at the time of the fire. The pyrotechnics used that night were not permitted by the local fire department or the fire marshal's office; this, too, was counter to model codes and the state regulations. Had the club adhered to the codes in effect at the time of the fire, neither the pyrotechnics nor the polyurethane foam would have been used. Without these factors, the fire would not have occurred.
The fact that the code was violated for more than two years indicates an overall lack of enforcement, which isn't unique to one jurisdiction; it's an issue in many communities around the United States. For regulations to be effective, there must be a viable enforcement program in place. This includes adequate staffing, training, and support. Adopting the latest model codes is a good start, but without well-trained staff in sufficient numbers to conduct regular inspections, the codes become just another book on the shelf. Without support from elected and appointed leaders in the community, the inspector becomes a hollow voice.


*Emphases, mine.

So, if the above is to be believed, the real problem wasn't the presence of the foam, but the fact that it was untreated foam.  This is what incurred a violation of code related to the foam, if anything did.

Of course, in order to determine this, I imagine the Fire Marshall would have had to take a sample of it and have it tested.  Notice the last paragraph?  The bit about having a lot of trained people arrayed in a viable enforcement program?  And how lack of this is not exactly unique in small municipalities?

I'll concede: the guy didn't do his job.  However, it's also very probable the municipality didn't remotely equip the guy to do the job right either.
2013-02-21 06:38:17 AM  
1 votes:

SkunkWerks: hasty ambush: Larocque's inspection reports did not cite the flammable polyurethane foam on the walls of the club as a violation of the state fire code.

Once again- and I admit, I could do the research on this myself- was the foam (just the fact that it was there at all) actually a violation of city fire code?

Cause I'm not seeing anywhere in this article at least that it was.

It was acoustic dampening foam used in a pretty typical application, from my perspective.  Perhaps it was used in a way that made it against a fire code?  It's possible, I admit.  But that's not stated here.  I'm having a hard time feeling angry that this guy isn't in trouble.  Maybe he should be, but any evidence that would suggest he should is conspicuously absent from this article.

I've been doing some reading though.  JBL speakers were sued for having flammable foam in their speakers- successfully.  I'm assuming the foam was, once again, an acoustic application.  Just a mite overboard, maybe?


I should add- this sentence:

Larocque's inspection reports did not cite the flammable polyurethane foam on the walls of the club as a violation of the state fire code.

Could mean that Larocque didn't cite it as a violation because it wasn't a violation.  If it was, I haven't seen that in anything I've read on the fire so far.

There's a difference between wanting something to be a violation of city fire code after some stupid, horrific incident like this and it actually being a violation of city fire code.
2013-02-21 06:27:54 AM  
1 votes:

Linkster: Good thing he was in charge of the pyrotechnics that caused the fire!


Or the people that knew the Station wasn't a safe venue for pyrotechnics, but went ahead anyway.

Or the people who decided to pack the club well over capacity.

Or the people who decided to have their bouncers block emergency exits because they didn't want anyone getting in for free...

Or the building inspectors- you know, they're also responsible for making sure buildings are compliant with safety related codes as well...

All that and I can't see anywhere in this article that the foam itself was actually in any way "illegal" or not allowed according to local building codes to have in a nightclub.  Another thing conspicuously absent from this article?

The foam was of a specific variety used for acoustics.

Acoustic dampening foam, in a venue for musical events?  Preposterous, right?


Look, I know we're all outragey here about this cause that's what we're expected to do, but you might want to consider for a moment that maybe the presence of the foam in the club wasn't the real crime here- and thus a fire inspector failing to notice it (or cite it, whatever) is also, by proxy, not a crime.

I live a mere half hour from the remains of the Station, actually.  Maybe the venue simply wasn't built for that kind of show.  The space was too enclosed for pyrotechnics.  If the foam hadn't caught, something else would.
2013-02-21 05:43:20 AM  
1 votes:

the ha ha guy: SuperDuper28: That's like a cop being called out to a residence because of loud music and ignoring the meth lab in the kitchen because that's not the reason they're there.


So you're saying the police should force their way inside and search the house, even if the situation is resolved at the door, or the music is being played outside? I absolutely agree, but why stop there?

If someone gets pulled over for a broken taillight, they should have to submit to a roadside strip and cavity search. That might not be the reason for the stop, but the cop can't take the chance that the driver might be smuggling something illegal.

If a computer hard drive is intact after a fire, the police should confiscate it and search it for illegal pornography or pirated materials.

When someone drops off a lost wallet at the police station, the police should run a full background check before they're allowed to leave. Would you rather let a criminal walk out the door?

In case you've forgotten, one of the 9/11 hijackers was pulled over for speeding less than 9 hours prior to the attacks. Clearly if the police had treated him as the terrorist he is, the attacks might not have happened. Can we afford to take that chance in the next terrorist attack? We can't risk waiting for terrorists to carry out their attacks, we have to start treating every potential lawbreaker as a terrorist today, only then can we Real Americans have the Freedom we've been fighting for.


That's quite a collection of straw men you've gathered there.  In fact, I don't think I've ever seen anyone collect so many all in one place like that.

White Knights, here's a newsflash:  this guy deserves some of the blame, too.  In every disaster, without exception, there is always a chain of events leading up to the catastrophe, any one of which if it were removed or remedied, the disaster doesn't happen.  This is especially apparent in airline disasters, but it really applies to every disaster.  This guy was a part of that timeline, and if he'd done his job properly, everything that happened afterwards would have been altered, presumably averting the disaster.  While I agree his part was small, it was a part nonetheless, and holding him completely blameless is a patently ridiculous position to take.
2013-02-21 04:46:40 AM  
1 votes:
Meh, I don't know. As a civil servant who's job is to enforce laws and regulations they should'd be aware of non-compliance at all times. Just being there to inspect what's needed for a liquir sales doesn't mean you can ignore everything else in plain sight. That's like a cop being called out to a residence because of loud music and ignoring the meth lab in the kitchen because that's not the reason they're there. Then again I don't really know the extent of this foam stuff. Whether it was present at the time and openly visible, he knew what is was, or if he really even saw it.......etc.
2013-02-20 10:36:51 PM  
1 votes:
Good for him
 
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