New R.I. Fire Laws Crack Down on Nightclubs


The office of State Fire Marshal Irving J. Owens has
compiled a list of 95 nightclubs required to install
sprinklers or fire alarm systems that automatically notify
local fire departments when they are activated. Some
business owners have been feeling the pressure to bring
their buildings up to code, according to The Day.

One nightclub is scheduled to shut its doors rather than pay close to $125,000 to install sprinkler and alarm systems.

Under the Comprehensive Fire Safety Act signed into law by Gov. Donald L. Carcieri on July 7, 2003, old businesses that were exempt from modern fire safety codes are now required to meet the same standards as new buildings. National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) regulations have also been adopted for the buildings and hazardous processes.

The state law was created after a February 2003 fire that killed 100 people and injured hundreds of others at The Station nightclub in West Warwick, R.I.

“Nobody wants that, the burden of having 100 people die in a fire like The Station fire,” says Westerly Fire District Chief David Sayles. “Or even one person’s life lost in the town of Westerly – that’s unacceptable.” Sayles adds that the law was not designed to put clubs out of business, but to protect the citizens’ right to be safe.

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