Thursday, April 24, 2003
It started when the fire of a band's pyrotechnics suddenly started spreading throughout a night club in Rhode Island. In scenes captured on video and not soon forgotten, the fire quickly consumed the building, leaving over 90 people dead. When I heard about it, my mind immediately flashed back to another awful club fire, this one costing 165 lives. It was Memorial Day Weekend at the Beverly Hills Supper Club in Kentucky, and the Cabaret Room was jammed with hundreds of people waiting to hear headliner John Davidson. Unbeknownst to them, an electrical fire had started in a wall and it was beginning to spread through the building. A teenage busboy suddenly appeared on stage in the Cabaret Room, and he interrupted the warm-up comedy act that was performing. He announced there was a "small fire" in the building, and he asked everyone to leave. Some did. Many refused to move. They thought it was part of the act. They weren't about to give up those hard-to-get seats they had for this holiday performance. Whatever the reason, that choice to stay cost many of them their life.