The Weakest Link
January 31, 2013
The horrific nightclub fire that killed an estimated 230 people in Santa Maria, Brazil last Saturday is a national tragedy for the country.
Accidents happen all the time, they are part of life. However we often see, in retrospect, that many, if not most, could have been avoided. That seems to be the case with this one.
- According to reliable news reports, the fire permit of the night club had expired in August last year.
- Furthermore it has also been reported that the night club was over-crowded. There were more than 2,000 people on the premises while the maximum authorized by the authorities was 1,000.
- The commander of the city’s Fire Department said in an interview that security guards at the club blocked some exit doors, which prevented people from fleeing the blaze. Patrons pay on their way out and this was probably done to prevent anyone from leaving without paying.
- The fire extinguishers were not working.
We can assume that the investigation will reveal exactly what happened and most probably will determine that there was multiple negligence and irresponsible behavior from a number of people that led to this tragedy.
A business that can accommodate 1000 people is not a small enterprise and we can assume that the nightclub employed a large number of people such as administrators, managers, barmen, barmaids, bouncers, chefs etc. Any one of them, as well as patrons might have been able to prevent the catastrophe, by their action.
The popular saying: “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link” could be a warning that we, in certain circumstances, by our inaction (or action) may precisely BE that weak link in a chain of events that may lead to a disaster such as the fire in Brazil.
As Patrick Henry, the 18th century American orator and patriot once wrote: