Deadly fires at nightclubs in the United States
– including one in Rhode Island
ten years ago – have prompted changes aimed at preventing such a situation in Rochester
. But, that doesn’t mean patrons shouldn’t take responsibility for their own safety.
“There are things people could and should do whenever they are in a public place,” said Rochester Fire Chief Salvatore Mitrano.
Most music venues in the City of Rochester do not seek out pyrotechnic shows because code regulations can add significantly to the cost. Nightclubs must have a permit, have a test run, and have a fire marshal present anytime a smoke alarm is disabled.
‘It isn’t just an open flame that can cause a panic, it could be smoke that causes it,” said Chief Mitrano. “If an alarm system has to be shut off as part of that event they go to make sure things are done appropriately.”
According to Chief Mitrano, overcrowding is a bigger problem here.
The Rochester Fire Department conducts spot checks during weekends and particularly during popular holidays like St. Patrick’s Day.
Panicked patrons in Brazil trampled each other running for the main exit after the fire spread through the Kiss nightclub closing time Sunday morning. 232 young people were killed, 130 injured.
After the fire that killed 100 people at a Rhode Island nightclub in 2003, the state enacted new code regulations for concert halls, nightclubs, and theaters that included mandatory announcements pointing out the location of exits before each show.
That is not required in Rochester. Yet Chief Mitrano likens being in any public place to being on an airliner. He says patrons should always note the closest exits, and not simply the door of entry.
“Everybody wants to exit where they came in, they don’t look for that door that’s closer. They should make sure they know how they are going to get out in any kind of emergency,” he said.