Deadly Brazil fire shows need for safety

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Our thoughts and prayers are with our Brazilian friends, who today are struggling with the Sunday deaths of over 230 university students and others who died in one of the worst nightclub disasters in years.

Early reports indicate pyrotechnics during a concert ignited a blaze that filled the club and caused a panicked pileup at the venue’s only exit. Rescue workers described a Holocaust-like scene of body upon body.

Americans dealt with a very similar tragedy in Rhode Island in 2003, in which 100 people died.

Such needless catastrophes are why we have fire codes and other building codes. They add costs to construction and to operations, but they save lives.

And say what you will about lawyers – we’ve said it here – but this is one reason why we have lawyers too: to help make sure laws and codes are enforced, and that businesses and individuals act in prudent, responsible ways that don’t endanger others.

Folks in the entertainment industry worldwide need to rethink the use of fireworks in such settings. No matter how sophisticated we think that we or our explosives are, they’re still explosives.

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