God forbid!-A A +A
Saturday, February 2, 2013
THE nightclub fire in the city of Santa Maria in Brazil brought us back to the same old pain felt by parents, relatives and friends in the March fire of a nightclub called Ozone Disco in Manila, which killed 161 people and injured over 300 others, most of them young people.
The Disco place that burned down was licensed to hold 100 at the time but was packed with 300 young people in high spirits. The flares burned people, suffocated them, even as the panicky crowd crushed itself to the pack of the dead and to death. There were more than one door but the dead blocked the ones alive who fought for a way out. . .
Is it any consolation that the Ozone fire burned only for 4 hours, not like the ancient big fire in Rome which ate up 10 districts, except four, in a conflagration which sat on the districts for six days? This same ancient fire ate up 132 houses, and four tenement blocks.
Or should it take another fire accident and one more—this time as deeply real and frightening as the recent January 29 Brazilian
incident and as horrible as this conflagration of the Kiss nightclub?
In the case of the Brazilian fire (caused by the use of pyrotechnics), the place was windowless and there was only one door for the pack of human bodies crushing each other dead. A Brazilian newspaper wrote, “there was a barrier of bodies blocking the entrance.” And the door closed inward which prevented a smooth outward flow of people running out for dear life.
We have to keep in mind a few things in preventing fires, besides being in the party causing such—the emergency numbers in case of fires, to keep them forever in our head. But even before this,
citizen care and prevention of fire accidents (among many accidents) should be given more attention, not only each time after they happen, and especially during festivals and happy days (cut short by
tragedies). It’s said that the Ozone “revelers” were celebrating graduation when electrical sparks at first thrilled them, then scared them dead.
Besides school drills, we could use topics like keeping safe from fire for children so it becomes part of their growing up. Dial landline 160 within Cebu City. Or call other numbers to connect with the Cebu Fil-Chinese Volunteer Fire Brigade, with the other fire departments of Talamban, Minglanilla, Mandaue City, Talisay City.
When the news on the nightclub fire in Brazil hit home, we remembered the Ozone Disco fire in Manila which killed young people in March 1996
When the fire was gone, dead bodies were found lined waist-high in the narrow corridors.
These are thoughts to scare us, we don’t need more to make us wake up to the lack of preparedness or of prevention.
We need more painful pictures of burned bodies, such as what were left behind after the last flare of scary ignite in the recent Brazil city fire. It took six hours for the Brazilian emergency team to retrieve all the charred bodies.
You need more photos of the fast spread of the conflagration?
In a bathroom, 50 bodies were found. In the news, this appeared to be a situation where the panic hit a crowd who thought the door of the bathroom was the door where they could run away safely. Then they were trapped.
In the Ozone Disco fire, the scare could go further, like to stories of ghosts felt and seen by people who went to the vicinity of corner Tomas Morato and Timog Avenue, such as faint forms of dancing silhouettes appearing in the dark.
We should stop and think (in fear and pain) about what our leaders are doing to watch out for death-filled accidents, like a fire we could have prevented from happening. I bet you don’t know what telephone numbers to call during a neighborhood fire. It’s not part of our life until….
Try and scare yourself.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 03, 2013.