Nightclub Fires and the Fire Service Term Paper by Nicky

Nightclub Fires and the Fire Service
An examination of the impact of nightclub fires on fire codes and legislation.
# 149557 | 2,770 words | 8 sources | MLA | 2011 | US

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The paper introduces the topic of nightclub fires and reveals the staggering number of nightclub, disco and restaurant fires over the past 40 years. The paper looks at the fire codes and arson laws up to 1947, and shows how even after the Rhythm, Cocoanut Grove and many other devastating and catastrophic fires, there were no standardized building or fire codes among the cities and states of the nation. The paper then examines the code changes after the Rhythm and Cocoanut Grove fires and the subsequent changes after the Station Fire. The paper contends that what is necessary is thorough inspections, heavy penalties, and frequent and comprehensive review of requirements with inspectors having appropriate enforcement authority.

Fire Codes and Arson Laws
Code Changes After Rhythm and Cocoanut Grove Fires
Codes and Laws After The Station Fire

From the Paper:

"It was not that there were not codes or standards developed by the 1940s, but they were often ignored. For the most part these codes were not being made into legally adopted laws and ordinances by cities, or states for that matter. And it was not that there were not well-designed and engineered plans for buildings. Most of the old building codes were outdated by anywhere from ten to 30 years, and the engineers, designers and architects of the day were perfectly capable of utilizing new designs and structures, stronger, more adapted to fire prevention, and safer all around. Again, the problem with the building codes, as it was with the fire codes, was that the laws and ordinances to put them into effect lagged way behind the technical knowledge of how to do it (Committee on Laws and Law Enforcement 3).
"Many of the "codes" adopted by private organizations and industries to make them appear to be self-governing, were suspect. Often an industry would create a building code that would specify only materials that a particular company or their own industry could produce, thus ensuring them of the project and the profit. This did little or nothing to help design better or safer buildings. In addition, most cities at the time did not have the highly qualified technical people it would have taken to study these "fake" codes and ferret out the illegalities and self-indulgence in them. The fact that they were written in very technical language, meant purposely to obfuscate and confuse anyone who read them, made the codes even more vicious and harmful."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Beitler, S. "Natchez, MS Rhythm Nightclub Fire, April 1940." 9 November 2007. (from The Delta Democrat-Times Greenville Mississippi 1940-04-24). 12 July 2009 <,-ms-rhythm-night-club-fire,-apr-1940>.
  • "Cocoanut Grove Fire." 2009. 12 July 2009 <>.
  • CNN. "At least 996 killed in nightclub inferno." 21 February 2003. 12 July 2009 <>.
  • Committee on Laws and Law Enforcement. "The President's Conference on Fire Prevention." 6 May 1947. Department of Homeland Security. 18 July 2009 <>.
  • Geren, G.L. "The Code Corner." November 2004. 18 July 2009 <>.

Cite this Term Paper:

APA Format

Nightclub Fires and the Fire Service (2011, December 22) Retrieved March 08, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Nightclub Fires and the Fire Service" 22 December 2011. Web. 08 March. 2021. <>