Jun 1, 2003 12:00 PM
I came across the article “Safe and Sound” in the April 2003 issue about the fire in Warwick, Rhode Island. The author, Dan Daley, did a very fine job in relating the hidden aspects of all-too-many fire-related situations. He exposed the seam between knowledgeable technology and merely “doing something.”
I do, though, find one aspect of Daley's work a little unfortunate. In the beginning, he notes what the Station “was not,” and rightly so. But to portray this as “one of thousands of one-room venues” seems to excuse it. That is rather misleading. Your information is true, but the fact is this and the other thousands, for the most part, are disasters waiting to happen and festering in the fertile soil of greed (“buy the cheapest foam”), ignorance (“I didn't know it would burn”), and stupidity (“pyrotechnics can be fired off any place, any time we choose,” no matter the conditions).
Granted, this is all seated in human attitude and behavior, but the Station was indeed a smaller version of the other disasters you mentioned and took as many or more lives despite its one-roomness. No matter what kind of facility those folks were in, they deserved the right to escape, not only alive but uninjured.
Thanks for your good work.
I would like to make a few additional comments to the “Safe and Sound” article. Overall, the article was very informative and certainly needed to be brought to the attention of the readers. There were two subjects that also needed to be included in the article: first, the fact that smoke developed from foam products is actually “toxic,” and second: fiberglass products can be equally effective for sound absorption but have better flame and smoke developed ratings. Also, the minimal smoke developed from fiberglass is not toxic. I have worked as an acoustical engineer for hospital construction going on 20 years. I never specify foam products in our hospitals because hospital codes would not allow their use and because I am aware of their toxicity. I recommend that anyone thinking about using foam for acoustical purposes read the MSDS sheets on the material before using the product.
Send your comments and questions to S&VC, 6400 Hollis St., Suite 12, Emeryville, CA 94608, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subscribe to S&VC EXTRA!
Breaking industry news in your e-mail inbox every other week! Subscribe at www.svconline.com.