Tulsa Club Owners Reassess Policies After Deadly Fire In Brazil

Monday, January 28th 2013, 10:03 pm
By: News On 6

A tragic fire at a Brazilian night club, in which at least 231 people died, has some Tulsa business owners rethinking their fire policies.

The Tulsa Fire Department has some pretty strict rules in place to make sure accidents like these don't happen here at home.

The owners of Cain's Ballroom say it's the perfect example of why you can never be too careful. It's a tragedy that's touched hearts all across the world, including here in Tulsa.

"It's sickening. Words can't describe," said Cain's Ballroom general manager Chad Rodgers.

On Sunday morning, a pyrotechnic display caused a massive fire at a Brazilian nightclub, killing more than 230 people.

Assistant Fire Marshal Doug Lewis said, in Tulsa, you must have a special permit in order to perform fire stunts inside buildings.

"We're going to come out. We're going to ask them to give us a sample display of what they're going to do, and if we feel that it's okay then we will approve a permit for them," said Tulsa Assistant Fire Marshal Doug Lewis.

The Brazilian club only had one way out and no emergency doors. In Tulsa, businesses that hold between 50 to 500 people must have two exits. For up to 1,000 people, it's three exits.

The iconic Cain's Ballroom caps its attendance at 1,700 people.

Rodgers said it's well equipped with exits.

"We have a total of eight, and we make sure they're all lit," Rodgers said.

Cain's also has sprinklers and a strobe light intercom system that'll go off during a fire.

"We take all the precautionary measures that I feel like you can," Rodgers said.

And there's a reason for that. Fire marshals make random checks to make sure owners are in compliance with all rules.

"To be honest, we'll look and see what's going on to see if they have the potential of having more people than they should," Lewis said.

Owners can be fined $1,200 for every person over capacity.

One tip the fire department has is to make sure you scope out all exits when you enter a building.

Lewis said, often, people only know of the main exit, so they all flock to that door and this could cause a huge backup, resulting in more deaths, in the event of a fire.