Killer Show: The Station Nightclub Fire, America's Deadliest Rock Concert

by John Barylick | Nonfiction |
ISBN: 1611682657 Global Overview for this book
Registered by quietorchid of Saint Paul, Minnesota USA on 10/22/2012
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3 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by quietorchid from Saint Paul, Minnesota USA on Monday, October 22, 2012
Good book. Important book.

In 2003, a pyrotechnic display gone wrong consumed a nightclub in Rhode Island. Later tests showed that the club became 'untenable' 90 seconds after ignition. [scientific speak for not survivable]. This is the story of how such a tragedy that cost 100 lives, and unspeakable pain and suffering from other survivors could happen.

Well written, factual without resorting to sensationalism. The author is one of the lawyers for the plaintives in a massive liability suit. It was finally settled, without a trial, so he took it upon himself to tell the story, so people would know what happened. Sobering look at risk calculation that sets in under the current system of Corporate controlled America. I knew most of these things, but having a lawyer lay out the intricacies of justice blinded and befuddled is horrifying.

Oddly enough, the poor lawyer is optimistic. He feels, and conveys, his belief that such tragedies are not inevitable in America if only one person in the chain stands up and say 'this isn't right'. God love idealists; no one else does.

Journal Entry 2 by quietorchid at Saint Paul, Minnesota USA on Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Released 8 yrs ago (10/24/2012 UTC) at Saint Paul, Minnesota USA


Sent off as a bookray/ring.

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Journal Entry 3 by wingResQgeekwing at Alexandria, Virginia USA on Tuesday, October 30, 2012
This book arrived yesterday, while Superstorm Sandy blasted its way across the region. The mailman just tossed this on the porch (along with a book from Amazon and a package of photos from Shutterfly), so I'm really glad that it was wrapped in a plastic bag inside the paper wrapper. The wrapper was soaked, but the book stayed nice and dry.

I'm looking forward to reading this one.

Journal Entry 4 by wingResQgeekwing at Alexandria, Virginia USA on Monday, November 19, 2012
I dimly remember the media coverage of the Station Nightclub fire back in the winter of 2003. As a former EMT, such stories often catch my attention, leaving me wondering at the circumstances that cause such disasters. While my personal experiences are more related to dealing with the injured survivors, I have more than enough firefighter friends to fully appreciate the challenges presented by the fire itself and the incredible number of lives it took.

This book is an attempt to tell the whole story of the Station Nightclub fire, from the history of the building to the settlement of the legal actions that arose from the fire. The incredible amount of research required to compile this account is evident in the level of details (not to mention the nearly 40 pages of notes), but this isn’t a dry technical report. Instead, the author has done an incredible job of bringing the story to life, evoking a wide range of emotions, from outrage at the gross disregard for safety that resulted from greed, to admiration for the strength and courage of any number of survivors.

This book can be viewed as three parts. The first five chapters set the stage, describing the nightclub and it history. We learn about the installation of inappropriate sound-proofing materials, the physical layout of the building and the questionable results of any number of fire and safety inspections. Chapters 6-18 deal with the events immediately leading up to the Great White concert of February 20, 2003 and the fire itself. We learn the stories of some of the victims and how they came to be in the building that night. Barylick pulls no punches as he graphically describes the horror of the fire as it almost literally explodes through the building. It is almost impossible to imagine how quickly this fire spread, killing most of its victims within just a couple of minutes of ignition. The remainder of the book describes the aftermath: Identifying the victims, the investigations and the criminal and civil litigations that attempted to resolve the legal responsibilities for this tragedy.

As with any disaster of this nature, there are lessons to be learned. In this case, it appears that an unfortunately confluence of circumstances combined to create an incredible deadly fire. It seems likely that the removal of any of the factors (even just one) might have prevented the tragedy, or at least greatly minimized its impact. The author’s evaluation of the possible lessons to be learned is both insightful and heartfelt. This book should serve as a cautionary tale of the potential consequences when safety takes a backseat to greed and when the public servants tasked with enforcing safety rules fail to properly do their jobs.

Journal Entry 5 by wingResQgeekwing at Alexandria, Virginia USA on Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Released 7 yrs ago (11/28/2012 UTC) at Alexandria, Virginia USA


I'll be dropping this in the mail to Hawaii for hypen8.

Journal Entry 6 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Saturday, December 15, 2012
Received today - thank you.

I'll probably start reading this soon..but given the events in Connecticut today I need something a little more upbeat right now so this will have to wait a bit. :(

Journal Entry 7 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Saturday, January 26, 2013
Well written and informative without being exploitative. The author had access to a lot of research and it shows in the level of detail provided, but it's all well organized and not too much.

(The contrast with the previous non-fiction book (self-published) I read is dramatic; this is a far superior product on all levels.)

Supplements to the text include a drawing of the club, photos (after page 146), a list of those killed in the fire, summaries of the outcomes of both criminal and civil procedings, notes/sources, and an index: a well-written, well-organized non-fiction book is such a nice thing to behold.

The chain of events that led to the tragedy is presented well, and the case for the liability of each of the defendants is strong.

The scariest thing is how quickly it all happened once the sparks flew. Enough to change your perspective on public spaces...

This is book 7/59 for NancyNova's 2013-2014 US states & territories reading challenge.

Journal Entry 8 by winghyphen8wing at Honolulu, Hawaii USA on Monday, January 28, 2013

Released 7 yrs ago (1/27/2013 UTC) at Honolulu, Hawaii USA


This book went to a wonderful TOC lunch at ghir's place and didn't come home with me!

Released for Secretariat's 2013 Never Judge a Book By Its Cover Challenge (week 4).

Sadly, some things don't change very much as this news story from Brazil shows - right before the 10th anniversary of the Station fire, another disastrous night club firel. Reaction from Rhode Island survivors here.

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