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I was the person that worked the party in the Zebra room the day of the Fire. I will never forget that day or that night as long as I live or things that took place after.. I believe the families deserve to know what happened that night.. The TRUTH NEEDS to be told.. Thank you for allowing me to be apart of this discussion.. Ask any questions you like.

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The problem is that they were going off of a 13 year old building code. Is that the owners fault "NO" it is not, I'm not one to pass blame. However, the correct building codes were not enforced by the Fire Chief or even the Fire Marshall. Therefore, we should be able to rule out owner responsiblilty in that act, but not fully as other ties from the owner may be at fault.

Was the building inspected?
Who did it?

I will also tell you some of the things that I have been told have not yet checked out but the stories are adding up.

If you are in the room and you worked that night or have informaiton contact Me at
DO you think in 15 minutes of time that the entire building would be fully involved?

From the reports that I have received in went from small smoke to huge fire?

Why would that happen? The interior walls were mostly paneling.......

Your right that FI was not high priority at the time, but I must ask you this. Why did the governor have the building almost tore down the next day? I'm not sure what went on that day, but I am asking guys like you to help answer some questions that I have. Thank you very much for helping answer some questions all ready
I would agree that the fire, occupancy conditions and fire departments response are well documented and the primary factors for the unfavorable outcome at this incident. It seems that the questions being raised are, was the electrical system tampered with, or some intiating device used to ignite the fire. These seem to be questions for law enforcement to answer, and really depends on whether any physical evidence remains and the probabilty of estabilishing motive, means and opportunity so late after the incident.
I'm not sure the fire community can add great value to this investigation at this late date.
I agree with you! However, there is still one piece of evidence hanging on the wall. Some say that it is not a part of the building and some say that it is? Who truly knows? I am working on getting the building drawings to see where the electrical outlets were. If the outlet is in the same place as the drawings say, this is true evidence. Then the wood can be tested for the chemical that is said to be wiped on the walls that night, which I do not know if it even exists. Do you have any information on liquid graphite?
I have spent considerable time in the codes and the Beverly Hills fire report is at hand in the file of reports that I often refer to. I have a personal friend that was in the Cabaret Room and escaped from the fire- his story, while finding minor errors in the layout of the Cabaret Room in the report, is consistent with what the NFPA report states.

Building codes do evolve. In the 1960's we had in place building codes that recognized compartmentation, fire alarms for detection and notification, and sprinklers. Their provisions, if met would have mediated the effects of the fire despite being as much as a decade old in 1977. When we look at America's building stock a large portion of it still consists of buildings that were built over 50 years ago and are still safe to work or live in.

The supper club was lacking in meeting code requirements for compartmentation that would have isolated the fire for a longer period of time- provisions that had been in the building code for several decades.

As to assigning blame on the Fire Chief or Fire Marshal- you are patently in error. The building owner is responsible for erecting and maintaining a building in compliance with the codes- not public officials. Fire and Building officials act as reviewers of what is built, but due to legal precedent do not assume responsibility for a building's structrual or fire components. You cannot assign it 31 years later.

The ultimate responsibility for life loss in the Beverly Hills Supper Club fire and the more recent West Warwick R.I. fire that killed 100- is the owner and operator of the building. In Rhode Island we did see lackadasical enforcement with regard to interior finishes for the bar- but it was and is the owner /operator that had the ultimate responsibility for adhering to the fire and building codes. When the operator made the decision to install interior finishes that were not compliant with the codes he assumed responsibilty for those 100 people that were killed.

If those with information on these issues will come forward and clearly state what they know after 31 years we can have a proper reevaluation of the facts that have been put down on paper. To this point the blog and lead-in story read like a teaser for Inside Edition. Lets get some facts before the readers and not ramble on about what might have been in vague terms.

This should not be a forum for assigning the reponsiblity for lives lost to the Fire Marshal or Fire Chief unless they were the ones that "struck the match." I do not believe that will be the outcome.

With kindest regards,
Greg Cahanin
Hey Greg!

I think you miss understood me when I talked about the Fire Chief and the Fire Marshall, I was not saying that the blame is on them in no way. I was raising question on why on a building so old did this get overlooked by the two officials. I ask because I do not know.... I have spent some time over the phone with a few of the folks that were on the scene and in the building at the time of the fire and they are coming forward with what they saw that night and in previous nights. There were some odds things there and I do not doubt the owner was in the wrong. However, after talking to these folks I am doubting that electrical was the cause.

Your seem very knowledgeable and a great guy that knows a lot about the fire service and I look forward to learning from someone like yourself. Here is my email please keep in touch

Your friend.Todd McKee
Hi Greg-

Thanks for your comments. Yes, there are many issues about the life safety, interior finish, code enforcement/compliance, etc. and I hope to pursue these areas as we proceed forward. For example, the actual number of people in the Caberet Room has been debated for some time and I would like to has that out.

My plan is for us to go through all of the reports, testimony, etc. and try to take a fresh look at this fire. When it comes to the cause/origin of the fire, I want to use NFPA 921 as our "standard."

In short, there's a lot to look at and many areas to cover.

Ultimately, I want to present all of the critical materials to an expert panel at next year's FDIC for a live "autopsy" of this fire.

Thanks for joining.

Forgive my memory but in a series of tests done on school buildings many years ago called "Operation School Burning" I seemed to recall one account that said that paneling mounted directly on studs would; once exposed to the volume of fire consistent with the doorway of a fully involved class room; spread faster than a fully equipped firefighter could leave. The point was made that if you were pushed out of the doorway by the fire that you would be caught in a flash over of the hallway. One of the fire officers involved said it was critical that a fully involved class room should not be tackled with with any flow of less then two hundred gallons a minute. What that has to do with a night club is that, if the finish was paneling, the flame spread could have been faster than people could run let alone walk. Even the much maligned Steiner Tunnel Test shows the flame spread of thin veneer paneling to be incomprehensibly fast.
Tom Horne
This would be a very interesting fire incident to review, and glad to put some effort in reviewing the "brief " on this if there is one. I can remember as a new investigator attending a presentation on this fire, several months after it occured. Dusty 480-891-4336
Dear Thomas-
Thanks for mentioning Operation School Burning that was first printed in 1959. Gus Degenkolb who was a Batallion Chief in L.A. at that time and wrote the book- he will be 93 in October. ( Gus has been collecting a retirement check for way longer than he worked in the department!!!)

I didn't recall any paneling comments in the book and just glanced through it and didn't find any references to paneling mounted on studs. Operation School Burning was prompted by the Our Lady of Angels school fire and focused on fire and smoke spread in multi-story school buildings. A 3-story L.A. junior high was used for the test and fires were set in classrooms, hallways, and stairwells to determine heat and smoke movement . Curtain boards and manual roof vents of plywood were put up. The only interior finish highlighted in the reports was the cellulose fiber acoustaical tile on the ceiling of the first floor that ignited and flashed the full length of the corridor.

Operation School Burning contains page after page of data from testing. If you take the computer modeling of today for the same configuration it will mimick that data... that is a validation of both the data developed in 1958 and the models we have today. There is lots of sprinkler data for full sprinkler versus partial sprinklers in the corridors versus no sprinklers with regard to the main part of the study- tenability... they wanted to know how long it would take to get children out of schools safely before smoke and fire stopped them. Sprinklers are the winner in almost every evolution in the testing.

The flame spread of the paneling is better assisgned to the E-84, Steiner Tunnel test than the Operation School Burning results.


Greg Cahanin
You Sir I feel Are Judging me for something You know not what I went through the first ten years. As for data. Did the person who wrote the Data see what I saw the day of the fire? no they didn't. In a report It was said that some of the exits had been blocked by concrete around the bottom of the door on the outside. The Fire was literally running down the walls from the Zebra room from the ceiling half way down the walls to the caberet room.. I barely got out myself. I was in the bathroom and I thank 3 busboys for getting myself and 2 other waitresses out..I still have nightmares from that .. If you would like to talk further I would be willing to do so. and tell you the torment I went through and maybe you will understand maybe not.. I would hope you would..Shirley

Please do not think folks are judging they are just looking at the information they have had for 31 years. No ill thoughts towards you and I know the situation you are in.



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