Fireworks don’t belong indoors
Music is only part of the show at many concerts these days. Unfortunately, death sometimes is on stage, too.
During the weekend, people in West Warwick, R.I., observed a grim anniversary. It was 10 years ago that 100 people perished in a nightclub fire there, when pyrotechnics used by the band caught the building on fire.
Among those who died, and remembered, was former Brookfield resident and Great White guitarist Ty Longley.
Longley’s father, Pat, had the gruesome task of identifying his son’s body February of 2003. The Longleys were among the families who lived with video images of their relatives jammed in the doorway of a burning nightclub, many screaming in terror as they struggled in vain to break free.
Ty Longley was born in Sharon, Pa. After graduating from Brookfield High School in 1990, he moved to Los Angeles and played with a variety of bands and singers. The 31-year-old Longley joined Great White in 2000 and was on the stage when the fatal fire started.
Reports from the fire indicated that Longley was trying to help others escape when he was overcome by the smoke and flames. Great White manager Paul Woolnough, acknowledging that life in a rock band usually is ”not normal,” once said that Longley always kept himself grounded.
”Despite all that, he remained a fully, loving down-to-earth guy,” Woolnough said.
Earlier this year, 235 people died in a Brazilian nightclub when a band’s fireworks show turned into a disaster.
The list of such tragedies is longer than you may think: Among the worst were 174 deaths in Argentina in 2004, 61 in Thailand in 2008 and 112 in Russia in 2009. Indoor fireworks mishaps occur regularly throughout the world.
State legislators should beef up fireworks regulations to include an absolute ban on use of any type of pyrotechnics inside public places.
Will some promoters of concerts and various types of shows complain? Certainly. Will a few refuse to perform here? Possibly.
But that is a small price to pay for banning a practice that clearly is dangerous and all too often results in deaths by the dozen, or even hundreds.