Condolences for Russia’s Loss


My personal condolences to the people of Perm, Russia for their tragic loss in a horrific blaze that swept through the Lame Horse Nightclub leaving 113 dead and 26 in intensive care.

What should have been an evening of joy as this popular haunt celebrated its 8 anniversary ended in death and destruction. A pyrotechnics display indoors ignited the plastic ceiling then spreading throughout the nightclub. Toxic gases and crushing injuries were the main cause of death according to reports from local authorities.

What a grim reminder of the events that transpired on February 3, 2003 at the Station Nightclub in Warwick, Rhode Island during a Great White performance. A fireworks display caught the ceiling on fire than spread throughout the crowded club in very much the same fashion as in the Lame Horse Nightclub. Sadly the outcome was equally as grim with 100 people killed, mostly from toxic gases and crushing injuries. Ultimately Great White tour manager Daniel Biechele was sent to prison for 4 years since it was his display that caused this disaster. Millions of dollars in compensation was doled out to the surviving families but their losses were priceless beyond words.

The management of Lame Horse will have some very hard questions to answer since Premier Vladimir Putin has taken a personal interest and ordered a special commission to investigate the fire. One thing I’ve noticed about Vlad, he walks his talk and I would not want to be the 4 guys who were tossed in the police cars. Apparently the club’s owner, Anatoly Zak, art director Oleg Fetkulov, executive director Svetlana Yefremova, and Pyrotsvet Pyrotechnical Company director Sergey Derbenyov have been detained for questioning. It’s a sure bet they will not be happy campers when the interrogation process begins. It would not surprise me one bit if Vlad “interviewed” the management personally. Putin is old school KGB so he is capable of doing just about anything he feels like including smacking around a few careless entrepreneurs. 

President Dmitry Medvedev is not taking this lightly either for he is already sharpening his ax and has plans of his own. I don’t think Dmitry would be as vicious as Putin though. Unfortunately it’s the hundreds of families who feel the brunt and totality of this tragic loss of life. The business of death has an indifferent ear as authorities process the bodies. Identifying the remains of loved ones is not an easy task at best, I hate it. I had to identify one of my kids and that really sucked. I’m still haunted by the sight of my daughter’s lifeless form, bandages covering up the bad parts. Knowing the horrific details of how loved ones died adds anguish to sorrow in an already unbelievable situation. The charred remains of endeared family members will be a testament to their horrific final moments of life. Crushing injuries tell an equally barbaric way a loved one spend their final moments on Earth. Hopefully their deaths were merciful and swift. But in the hearts of family members they know their loved ones died in agony.  

The survivor’s of this epic human drama face many issues as well, some emotional and some very physical. The hardships bestowed upon them and their families will be far reaching. Some injuries will require years if not a lifetime of therapy. Many survivors sustained burns on over 50% of their bodies. Others only had a few places where their skin or appendages was melted off their torsos. It will be a miracle if all the survivors pull through recovery. So a few prayers tossed their way would be much appreciated eh. Sadly the emotional scars will take the greatest toll over the years to come. A myriad of mental disorders will eventually rear their ugly heads over time.

With the rash of bombings in recent months this incident occurred at a very sensitive time. Russian terrorist experts went through the debris with a fine tooth comb so there will be plenty of forensic evidence to contend with. Teams of anti terror and bomb experts have traveled across the country on more terrorist related incidents than they care to publicize. With mounting civilian casualties from recent attacks, this fire drew immediate suspicion. Now the dead tally is at 113 since a survivor expired while going through emergency treatment. The shear pain from the loss of ones skin is totally unfathomable.

The possibility Islamic Jihadist’s laid siege on Lame Horse were quickly dispelled by inspectors on the scene. A track record of callus disregard for safety regulations and a host of other violations paint an ominously incriminating and accusatory picture. Documented events between officials and management placed red flags on this establishment on more than one occasion. There is another side to every story so I am eager to hear management’s rendition of the nightclub fire. There is no question they were devastated and in a state of shock. Aside from the civil and criminal aspects of this case they have to live with the fact they accidentally killed their friends. That burden weighs heavily on the soul for those with conscience.

Ironically the Lame Horse was due for a safety inspection two days after the fire. Now burn units in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Chelyabinsk are filled to capacity with victims from this senseless inferno. What was supposed to be a time of merriment and joy was transformed into a period of death, pain and sorrow. Funeral bells will ring where seasonal melodies should have toned. The 8 year anniversary of the Lame Horse Nightclub will not soon be forgotten in Perm, Russia. The emptiness of loss, the agony of pain and suffering will linger for many years to come.

Your Devil’s Advocate