Case Study: Brooklyn Theater Fire, Brooklyn NY

Anyone who is a smart student of history will look at events from the past and learn from them.  Sometimes, preventable mistakes are made, and if we carefully take note of them, we can make sure that we don't make the same ones.  This applies to many circumstances in human history, and it also applies to tragic fires that have taken place in our nation's past.  We can look at certain fires and conclude the causes.  This can be an excellent foundation for enacting procedures that can prevent these very types of fires.  That is exactly what has been done and why certain fire safety codes are in place.  Having the items in a building fireproofed is one of the very first and fundamental steps in preventing fires.

The Brooklyn Theater Fire in Brooklyn, NY in 1876 is one of those fires we can learn from. This fire was a result of a gas light that touched scenery and set it aflame.  The fire quickly spread to the other pieces of scenery. As a result, the entire theater filled with smoke as all the machinery and scenery were ablaze. The stagehands put their energy into trying to put out the fire instead of facilitating a safe evacuation, and precious time was lost.

Of course, the attendees were panic-stricken and raced for the doors.  Unfortunately, the only way out was a narrow staircase; at the time, there were no fire escapes.  As we can likely conclude, people were trampled as others tried to get out, and many were trapped inside. The whole building was burnt down, and 278 individuals lost their lives in this fire.

We can learn much from this tragedy.  First, the most obvious lesson is how important it is for draperies, curtains, scenery, and hangings to be fireproofed.  If those kinds of regulations had been in place at the time, this disaster could have either been prevented or drastically minimized.  Additionally, because the stagehands didn't prioritize evacuating, many lost their lives because of the chaotic escape. The theater was not equipped with automatic fire sprinklers, and the exits were only designed for calm, orderly egress; they were not designed to handle a panic-stricken crowd.  All of these factors together contributed to the devastating fire in the Brooklyn Theater.

Fire safety oversight has been much improved since 1876, and now, flameproofing is required in public places such as theaters, restaurants, bars, hotels, and night clubs.  As a result, all draperies, curtains, scenery and hangings must be treated with flame repellents.  That very requirement is designed to save lives and limit the loss of property in the event of a fire.

Manhattan Flameproofing, one of NYC's premiere fireproofing outfit, is here to help you make your business property as safe as possible from the threat of fire. The importance of having items in your building treated with fire retardants cannot be overemphasized.  History has shown us the danger of not having those kinds of safety measures in place.  Please call us 1-800-268-7993 for a free, no-obligation estimate so we can assist you with your flameproofing needs.