RI Club Owners Knowingly Used Highly Flammable Foam.
It now appears that the owners of The Station
nightclub knowingly purchased highly flammable packing insulation to use
in their club for soundproofing instead of the more expensive flame-retardant
foam according to the Boston Herald.
"They wanted the lowest grade, the cheapest
stuff," said Aram DerManouelian, president of American Foam Corp. in Johnston
which sold the materials to the West Warwick club. "We sell flame-retardant
foam, but that's not what they were looking for. It costs twice as much."
DerManouelian told the Herald that 25 sheets
of "egg crate" packing foam were delivered to the club June 27, 2000, at
a cost of $575. The owners of the club then glued the foam to the walls
and spray painted them with a sparkly, dark paint.
The egg crate packing foam that was used
in the station is not typically used as soundproofing for clubs and the
Herald reports that it is known to be highly flammable and burns like
gasoline, emitting a dark, toxic smoke.
The Herald also reported that the clubs
co-owner Jeffrey Derderian, knew of the danger associated with the foam.
Jeffrey Derderian, a former reporter at WHDH-TV (Ch. 7), did a special
report on the dangers of the egg crate foam in a Feb. 18, 2001, piece on
mattress fires, reports the Boston Herald. In the report, which aired
on Ch. 7 seven months after the foam was glued to the walls of his own
nightclub, Derderian calls the material solid gasoline and quotes fire
officials warning of its danger.
The owners, speaking through their attorney,
say that they were given the wrong advise by one of their neighbors. Soon
after the Herald story broke, the club owners related their side of the
story. They claim that Barry Warner, a foam salesman living next door to
the venue came to them looking to sell them foam, saying they could use
it as soundproofing for the club to help cut down on the noise complaints
they had been receiving from neighboring businesses.
Kathleen Hagerty, the attorney for the
club co-owner Michael Derderian says that his client relied on Warners
advise when selecting which foam to use in the club.
"Barry represented that this is the foam
that you use to soundproof a club," Hagerty said of the June 2000 discussion.
"They relied on him. He was the expert."
Warner says that the Derderians wanted
the cheapest option and safety was never discussed.
"The issue never came up," Warner said
in an interview on Sunday. "More expensive options, he wasn't interested."
We have to assume the he in this case was
Michael Derderian, although Warner says he discussed the foam with both
brothers on several occasions over a period of a few weeks. Hagerty has
tried to shift the blame to Warner, saying that he was the one who measured
the club and arranged for the purchase of the flammable foam that was used
in the club.
"I did not place the order, I did not measure
the job, I did not deliver the job, I did not arrange for delivery," Warner
told the Associated Press.
Rhode Island law prohibits the use of flammable
acoustic material from the walls of gathering places like bars. However,
the club did pass a fire safety inspection last December and there is no
indication at press time if Fire officials raised any concern about the
foam materials lining the walls of the club.
Following the fatal blaze at the Station
which claimed the life of 98 people, the owners pointed the finger at the
band saying that they never gave the group permission to use pyro in their
set but the band contends that they were given permission.
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