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Fire Safety for Brazil, But Not in U.S.?, Asks New Jerseyan

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I am troubled that after a fire that took the lives of over 230 people in Brazil that the world media criticizes, that the building didn’t have an automatic fire sprinkler system. However, the U.S. press never asks the senior fire officer at the scene of fatal fires in buildings and residences in this country if it’s a significant issue.

It appears there is a double standard.

We as U.S. citizens expect other countries to protect their citizens with current modern fire safety automatic fire sprinkler systems, but yet year after year we read about our countrymen and women dying in unprotected structures.

Why isn’t anyone speaking up in the U.S, to protect us?

Last Monday there was a vote in the N.J. General Assembly on A-1570, a bill to protect our residents from fire. A partisan vote resulted: 44 Democrats voted yes. 30 Republicans said no.

Now it’s up to the state Senate to pass S-2273.

Lewis J. Candura
Chair, Morris County Democratic Committee
Mount Olive Township

Michael Brancato February 04, 2013 at 02:43 PM
Mr. Candura, having built shows in venues from Radio City Music Hall to the Great Western Forum and beyond, I can assure you that there are many laws in this country regulating fire protection in theatres and event spaces. From requiring fireproof curtains and sprinkler systems to testing all fabrics on stage for fire resistance, the laws in the US more than cover fire safety for performances. Furthermore, after the tragic fire at The Station in Rhode Island, you will not find a promoter or performer willing to risk the repercussions of using pyrotechnics in a questionable situation. The bills you mention have absolutely nothing to do with the fire in Brazil, which was the result of an unlicensed and ill-advised pyrotechnics display by a band in a room that was too small for the crowd and did not have enough exits. The tragedy there was not caused by a lack of sprinklers but a criminal disregard for common sense by the promoter, performer, and venue. The fact that bouncers actually tried to keep people in the room after the fire started is horrible, and shows how ill-prepared the venue was for such a disaster. Your blatant politicking by using this unrelated tragedy to push legislation that will raise the cost of housing is despicable. Perhaps next time you decide to use a tragedy to push your agenda you should do some research on exactly what the laws in the US cover, since your "double standard" is not really a double standard at all, but a straw man.

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