It’s not often you find the variety of egress-related news stories that I’ve seen lately, so I compiled a few here for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!
Once in a while, fire doors and egress doors get some attention from a sensational story that captures the public’s interest (like the one about the voo-doo ritual a few months back)…I mean, which sounds more interesting? “Blocked egress path cited by officials,” or a headline like this: “Dominatrix dungeon boss hauled before court because ‘massage parlour’ breached fire regulations and endangered manacled clients“? Apparently, the Scarlett massage parlor was inspected by fire officials and was found to have a locked egress door with a roll-down shutter beyond it, obstructions in the egress corridor, and an emergency exit being used as a changing area. This article lists some of the offenses.
Next up, a seemingly benign story about the Crews and Tangos nightclub in Toronto. I read this while I was on vacation and it immediately reminded me of Chicago’s Epitome nightclub stampede in 2003. The 2003 tragedy was caused by pepper spray used to break up a fight in the club, which caused patrons to rush for a single exit. Twenty-one people were crushed to death. In the Crews and Tangos story, a dancer hung from a sprinkler pipe, which then broke and dumped water on the 400-500 people who were in the club at the time. Did I mention that the Crews and Tangos is a drag bar? Can you see the image in your mind? Well, check out the front door shown in the news article (link above). It may have a panic device, but it also has a deadbolt above it. The entrance door, which many people will automatically head for in an emergency, also appears to have two locks. There are plenty of photos on their website if you want to have a look (some photos show the entrance doors, but don’t come crying to me if you get in trouble for looking at photos of men in drag)…the photo at right is the corridor leading to the exit on a regular night. With the sprinkler-induced confusion this could have been bad, but it sounds like they got lucky and there were no injuries.
With the numerous nightclub tragedies that have occurred over the years, I love to see the fire marshals checking the egress routes in nightclubs. The Newcastle Herald (Newcastle, Australia) published a story about three hotel/nightspots which were cited for violations – all three included locked exit doors! Here’s the article: REVEALED: the hotels that locked fire exits.
There’s a great article in the NFPA Journal this month about managing emergencies in large venues such as stadiums and amphitheaters. There are details of historically significant incidents, as well as plans for the future management of such problems. You can read the article on NFPA’s website – Managing Emergencies.
The final story came across my desk today, and it doesn’t actually have anything to do with egress. In a fluke accident, a college student working as a cheerleading coach completed a tumbling run and stumbled against an exterior door that was no longer in use and had been nailed shut. The door opened and he fell 4 stories, using his gymnastics experience to land on his feet. He was badly injured but he will recover. Click the image at left to access the news video.
Nightclub photo, Crews and Tangos / M17 Photography. 4th Floor Door photo, LEX18 News.