Local bars, venues look at fire standards after Brazil fire - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Local bars, venues look at fire standards after Brazil fire

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The town of Santa Maria, Brazil is in mourning after a weekend fire at a nightclub that claimed more than 230 lives.

Monday, we learned three people have been arrested in connection to the fire, which started after a band's pyrotechnics caused insulation to ignite, prompting a stampede toward the club's one working exit.

Witnesses have also said that a fire extinguisher didn't work.

Most of the victims died not from burns but from smoke inhalation.

Many of the dead were found in the club's two bathrooms, where they fled, apparently because the blinding smoke caused them to believe the doors were exits.

That fire has many of us wondering whether a similar tragedy could happen here.

For many of us, the fire brings back memories of a similar incident at a bar in Rhode Island, ten years ago. Since then, fire departments across the country have looked to their standards and procedures to make some changes. Buildings in Sioux Falls are no exception.

Borrowed Bucks Roadhouse can hold just under 800 people at any given time. Fire inspector John Wagner says his crews visit establishments around town almost weekly to check and make sure they're following the rules. For example, staying under max capacity, extinguisher placement and sprinkler systems.

"The first thing we look for is exit doors, can people get out? When we go to some place, we tell people to look for the exits now. We're creatures of habit and tend to go out the door we came in. I want to go out the door no one is going out of," Inspector John Wagner said.

Their goal, along with bar owners, is to make sure everyone is having a good time while they are staying safe. If there's ever an issue that catches their eye, inspectors will address it right away.

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