Fireworks erupted from several parts of The Station\’s stage as the band began to play for the crowd.
— The effects that ignited the deadly nightclub fire are called \”gerbes,\” from the French word for sparks.
— \”Gerbes\” are simple contraptions, consisting of a powder charge inside a floor-mounted tube or pipe about an inch in diameter.
— The charge is usually ignited by an electric spark that is triggered by remote control, shooting a tower of flame into the air.
— A metal additive in the charge, such as titanium or tungsten, gives the flame a sparkling effect.
Source: The Associated Press
ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) — A pyrotechnics display is being blamed for a fire that tore through The Station nightclub in Rhode Island on Thursday night, killing scores of concertgoers at a performance by the metal band Great White.
Pyrotechnician Pete \”Pyro Pete\” Cappadocia talked with CNN\’s Arthel Neville about the pyrotechnics that might have been used during the performance.
NEVILLE: Pete, you know, the stage manager at the Stone Pony [where Great White used pyrotechnics at a performance last week], his name is Chris Glowicki, he said he had no idea that the band was going to be using pyrotechnics. Is that possible?
CAPPADOCIA: That\’s very possible. It\’s very easy. Just as, you know, a kid can go steal the keys to the car and go take it around the block. … The device … looks like [it has] three fountains that shot 15 or 20 feet in the air. I tried to time it on my stopwatch using the footage that you guys are showing — [it] looks to [have been] burning approximately 10 seconds.
That device is a very small device. It\’s very easy, very easy to sneak in. And [it] wouldn\’t even need to be snuck in. [It] could have just been brought in and placed down.
And in the scale of drum risers and back-line equipment and gear that\’s normally brought on the stage, it\’s maybe two to three times the size of a pack of cigarettes.
NEVILLE: Wow. So Pete, even under a controlled environment, under which circumstances you work in, what could possibly happen? What could possibly go wrong?
CAPPADOCIA: Anything could go wrong. Fireworks, pyrotechnics — I just have one quick thing. The lawyer that wrote a book and talked about pyrotechnics was interesting because he talked about explosives. We don\’t use explosives. [An] explosive is a different class; it burns faster, it explodes. Our stuff does not explode. There\’s a different between explosion and deflagration and combustion.
What we use burns slow. It\’s made for visual impact. Yes, it\’s hot; yes, it could set things on fire.
Like they mentioned earlier, if they\’d have known they were going to use pyrotechnics, they would have had additional fire extinguishers. Part of getting a permit — if the building has 10 fire extinguishers but I\’m going to do pyrotechnics, I know that I have to bring in additional fire extinguishers.
And the fire department would also tell me to bring in additional fire extinguishers because I now have increased the odds of causing a fire in that building.
CAPPADOCIA: Thus needing more fire suppression.
NEVILLE: Well, \”Pyro Pete\” Cappadocia, thank you very much for lending your expertise and insider information on that particular angle of the story.