Rhode Island Nightclub Fire
The Station nightclub was a single-story wood frame building with a footprint about 4484 square ft. The north-facing front door (the main entrance) of the nightclub was about 140 ft from Cowesett Avenue. Kulas Road is about 33 ft east of the side bar exit. There was no direct street access to building from either the west or south sides. The floor plan of the nightclub is shown bellow:
In the evening of February 20, 2003, during its performance, a band used pyrotechnics that ignited polyurethane foam insulation lining the walls and ceiling of the platform. The initiation of fire occurred at 11:08 pm, and evacuation started some seconds later. About 30 seconds later, the platform door became impassable due to the fire. 1 minute 42 seconds later, the main entrance became clogged with people trying to exit the main floor, and some occupants started to break windows and escape from the poolroom and sunroom. The latest time recorded for an occupant escaping from the main bar through a window was at 4 minutes 8 seconds. 5 minutes later, flames were observed extending out of the windows and front doorway. 5 minutes 30 seconds into the fire, the last survivor was seen to have escaped from the front entrance. Some of the occupants knew of the existence of the side exit door near the main bar, and approximately 46 occupants used this exit. A small number of occupants (approximately 20 – mainly those associated with the band or the club) used the exit near the platform early in the fire. Many survivors indicated that they were not aware of any exit doors other than the main front door.
248 of the approximately 350 people escaped from the building. Of the 169 occupants who had escaped through a door, 91 left through the main entrance, 46 left through the bar door, and 32 through the platform door. 79 occupants exited the building through its windows – 25 escaped through the sun room windows and 54 leaving through the windows in the main bar. 58 of the 96 who died were located in the main entryway. 2/3 of the occupants attempted to leave through the main entrance, and only about 40% of those were successfully evacuated.
Evacuation Density Map