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Report of the Technical Investigation of The Station Nightclub Fire (NIST NCSTAR 2), Volume 1

Published

Author(s)

William L. Grosshandler, Nelson P. Bryner, Daniel M. Madrzykowski, K Kuntz

Abstract

A fire occurred on the night of Feb. 20, 2003, in The Station nightclub at 211 Cowesett Avenue, West Warwick, Rhode Island. A band that was on the platform that night, during its performance, used pyrotechnics that ignited polyurethane foam insulation lining the walls and ceiling of the platform. The fire spread quickly along the walls and ceiling area over the dance floor. Smoke was visible in the exit doorways in a little more than one minute, and flames were observed breaking through a portion of the roof in less than five minutes. Egress from the nightclub, which was not equipped with sprinklers, was hampered by crowding at the main entrance to the building. One hundred people lost their lives in the fire. On Feb. 27, 2003, under the authority of the National Construction Safety Team (NCST) Act, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) established a National Construction Safety Team to determine the likely technical cause or causes of the building failure that led to the high number of casualties in that fire. This report documents the procedures, findings, and issues that were raised by the investigation. Volume I contains the main report and Volume II contains appendix material. The investigation concluded that strict adherence to 2003 model codes available at the time of the fire would go a long way to preventing similar tragedies in the future.
Citation
National Construction Safety Team Act Reports (NIST NCSTAR) - 2
Report Number
2

Keywords

building fires, fire investigations, sprinklers, egress, fire spread, fire models, polyurethane foams, pyrotechnics, smoke, insulation, death, fire fatalities, building codes, fire codes, standards, response time, experiments, smoke spread, materials tests, computer simulation
Created June 30, 2005, Updated February 19, 2017