Posts Tagged ‘fire’

March 18th, 1996 saw a tragedy in Quezon City, Philippines leaving around 162 dead. The Ozone Disco Club was opened in 1991 by Segio Orgaoow but was previously a jazz club named Birdland. The club had an approved occupancy of 35 but inside were around 40 workers and 350 party goers. Many of them were students celebrating the end-of-year or their graduation.

Survivor accounts say they saw sparks at the DJ booth just before midnight and then smoke which they thought was part of the set. Within minutes the fire broke out and the tragedy was under-way. The criminal trial listed 160-162 dead with an additional 95 injured. It was one of the worst death tolls for a nightclub ever, but the República Cromagnon fire has since surpassed that claim.

People tried to escape and many of the bodies were found along the corridor towards the exit piled up waist-high/ It seems that the emergency exit was blocked by a new building next door and no proper fire exit had been installed. It also transpires the security thought a riot had broken out and then locked the doors to the exit.

The building still stands, although not in commercial use, and a former memorial plaque has since been removed. Passers by say that they have peered in through a crack in the boardings and have seen dancing shadows. Sometimes the ghosts of those trapped inside possess someone making them relive their death and awful lead up to it. The descriptions from the people who do have this experience are remarkably accurate in regards to the situation.

Ozone disco

In 1974 the Joelma building in São Paulo, Brazil caught fire and took a tragic 189 lives along with it. The legend seems to have gone on for a long time before the final days of the building, a 400 year legacy surrounds the land and a legend of 13 cursed souls of Jesuit colonists starts it, but 13 saints arriving later on seems to have ended it.

In 1554 the founding of São Paulo was started with Vasco da Gama and his Portuguese invaders, 12 priests and their altar boy founded the Jesuit College and they were cursed by the local tribe. They were cursed to take the lives of their fellow Christians who dared to live on the land.

On the area was a house for a chemist, Paul Campbell, he lived with his own family and extended family. He was a respected chemist and one day he returned home with a gun in hand, killing the household before burying them in a pit in the back of the garden and then turned the gun on himself. Murder-suicide, and 12 dead and the curse of the thirteen claimed a fire-fighter who caught an infection from one of the corpses and died the next day.

For 25 years that property and it’s land remained vacant until the construction of the Joelma building. The address name was changed, but still witnesses spoke about odd disturbances in the building. Even in 1972 it seemed that no one was at rest.

In 1974 an electrical fire engulfed the building, it killed 189 people and hospitalised 343. Strangely there were 13 victims that no one could identify or witness as being in the building prior to it’s outbreak. The thirteen people were in an elevator that would have reached up to 700 degrees at the time, yes that is roasting people level, and yet strangely all 13 of them emerged as a group. They did however died once outside from smoke inhalation, strangely thought it seems that the number 13 came around enough times to keep the original story in the recollection.

joelma-fire-late-on

So whilst I am not an avid sports fan it seems fair that I cover these, as they no doubt come under interesting even frightening if you were there for them. So lets go with the round-up. ( I am avoiding Hillsborough if you are wondering, this is simply too big to cover and would no doubt require me to go into a major history account.) I haven’t chosen to link videos, if you want to go and find out more do so but I will say they are very harrowing, you are watching people in the process of dying on some of them. Whilst I am pretty much of the stance that I will take a neutral view, even I admit these are damned sad to watch.

23rd June 1968 – Puerta 12 tragedy, Buenos Aires. This is less well-known it seems but 71 fans died at the stadium, it was two sides that seemed to blame one another for the terrible events. Calls about people burning flags seemed to have caused a stamped and the fans rushed towards gate 12; it caused the deaths and around 150 injuries. Victims were between 13 and 20 years of age and in the end the league paid compensation to the victims families. Even today the area remains to have changed little with the low light around the area, the stairwell and the gate are virtually unchanged.

2nd January 1971, Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow, Scotland. A stampede led to the death of 66 people and over 200 people being injured. Until the 1989 Hillsborough Disaster it was the worst to have occurred in the United Kingdom. The stadium’s owners were later found to be at fault over one of the deaths, they did not dispute it and 60 other cases were brought forwards. In 1902 there had been a previous incident there, a stand collapsed due to heavy rain the night before and killed 25, and injured 517.

In 1971 more than 80,000 fans attended and Celtic took a 1-0 lead against the Rangers. Some Rangers supporters began to leave but at the final moments an equaliser was scored. Thousands were leaving and as this was happening, by stairway 13, a child was on his father’s shoulders and fell, it caused a terrible chain-reaction. Most of the deaths were caused by compressive asphyxia (chest compressed until the longs cannot take in enough air and the person suffocates). Bodies had stacked up to six feet in some of the areas and these days there is a memorial to the event and those who lost their lives.

20th October 1982, Luzhniki in Moscow, Soviet Russia (it was the named Grand Sports Arena of the Central Lenin Stadium) a stampede started that killed 66 RC Spartak Moscow fans and the number of those that died was not made official until 1989, until then speculation ranged from 3 to 240 deaths. The fans had two of the four stands open, they could get the area cleared of snow that way and most of the fans went to the East Stand as it was closer to the Metro station. Thee were about 100 Dutch supporters. The game itself was pretty much uneventful and the fans began to head out minutes before the end, presumably they had already seen enough of the match. The fans effectively rushed to the Metro Station side exit.

A fan fell at the lower steps of stairway one and, according to some reports, it was a woman that had lost her shoe and stopped to find it, some stopped to help. The crowd was getting dense by this stage and a domino effect started.

People around had no idea what was happening as impatient fans tried to move to the exit, the stampede was in full swing as the second goal for Spartak came 20 seconds before the final whistle. The autopsy showed that those who died all died from compressive asphyxia. A Russian site explained that perhaps the goal at the end helped to save more lives as people rushed back to see that and eased the crush, who knows…

1st February 2012, Port Said Stadium, Port Said City, Egypt... a riot occurred at the stadium with 72 killed and over 500 injured when thousands of El Masty spectators stormed the stadium stands and pitch, following a 3-1 by their team. They attacked El Ahly fans who were in their own area using weaponry and fireworks. Their anti-government/revolutionary chants had many thousands of Egyptian fans thinking that it was a set up to get rid of the revolutionary group. The Egyptian government responded by shutting down the domestic league for two years.

The match had been delayed for 30 minutes as El Masry fans were already on the pitch, and each time there was a goal they invaded, along with the half time invasion. The El Ahly were trying to escape and being attacked as they ran, they were asking for police to protect them as they ran and in the melee there were people thrown from the stands as well. The Egyptian family airlifted in soldiers to rescue the players who had been stranded and the Al Ahly coach a the time, Manuel José, even considered giving up coaching, as well as leaving Egypt for good. The security forces were condemned that they had hesitated to act and part of the support for the idea it was government organised came from the lack of security searches, that eyewitnesses saw security standing aside during the attack and overall it seems that this was part of the evidence that was being waded through.

On 26th January 2013 they held the trial, 21 accused were effectively handed their death sentences with 52 postponed until March 2013. 27th January 2013 it was reported that the Egyptian government had lost control of the city. Sadly the deaths continued there.

Other mentions are the Estadio Nacional disaster, Lima in 1964 where a Peru and Argentina match took place and with Argentina leading 1-0 and six minutes of normal time left, the fans of Peru were angered by a goal being disallowed that would have meant they were equalised. The result was a pitch invasion and tear gas being deployed, steel shutters were closed and panic ensued crushing people. All those who died were in the stairwell and there were at least 328 deaths, though this may be an understatement.

The Accra Sports Stadium Disaster in 2001 also deserves a mention, taking the lives of 127 people in Africa. Trouble had been anticipated and there was extra security but the match carried on and bottles and plastic seats were thrown on to the pitch. The police fired tear gas into the crowd and panic ensued with a crush off 127 people that lost their lives. Ghanaian fans remember the disaster on the 9th May each year.

After speaking with my more football savvy friend, he also mentioned that as disasters go another really should be mentioned. The Bradford Stadium fire. On Saturday 11th May, 1985 fire broke out. It was a tragic event taking the lives of 56 supporters and injuring 265. Police, supporters and staff were forced from the stadium dragging out people they could, trying to save as many as possible as the stand was engulfed in fire. This event is one that sparked a wave of new legislations for safety, the antiquated stadium had been unfit for purpose. Bradford City still support the Burns Unit at Bradford Royal Infirmary as their chosen charity to this date.

And my final one is the Estadio Nacional Mateo Flores, 16th October 1996, just before the 1998 FIFA World Cup Qualification match was about to take place, saw 83 people killed and more than 140 injured as excessive numbers of fans then tried to break into the General Sur section. It created a human avalanche and it seems that the excess was most likely down to counterfeit tickets and the poor design of the building. It was a terrible situation with many people having suffocated in the mass.

The sad part is that many of these tragedies are due to bad planning or poor layouts, not to mention people. It’s also unfortunate that the majority of the people in all the cases above would likely have been nothing more than people wanting to enjoy a day out supporting their sport. Violence, stampedes or general disasters meant that innocent people died in a terrible way and I think we owe it to them to remember these things and try to learn from them each time.

Lapuerta12-1968

Disaster-ibroxi6.jpg
Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2184782

Okay here goes! This one is pretty famous to those of us that like to watch horror at the very least. As the setting for the Session 9 Film (the cast of CSI in a horror?) it has a very interesting history let alone the ghost stories… so hold on to your coffee/tea and get ready for a blog that could be rather lengthy. The State Lunatic Hospital was a psychiatric hospital located in Danvers, Massachusetts. Built in 1874 and opened in 1878 it was a self-contained hospital built according to the Kirkbride Plan. One of the rumours boasts it as a birthplace of pre-frontal lobotomy (lush!).

It was originally two main centre buildings which had the administration and had four radiating wings. There were kitchens, laundry, a chapel, dormitories, boiler  house and other detailed rooms from the plans and records that exist. The water came from Middleton Pond. Over the years they added other buildings and most of the buildings on the campus were connected by a series of confusing underground tunnels. Part of this underground myriad of tunnels was a hub for maintenance; this was nicknamed “The Wagon Wheel”. The older tunnels were used in the Session 9 film. With the original plan being to house 500 patients it’s no surprise that with over 2000 by the late 40’s overcrowding was a major issue. People were held in the basements of the Kirkbride and of course this will add to the stories of  ghosts, tales of horror and anguish.

The asylum was established for residential treatment and care for the mentally ill, in the 1890’s Dr Charles Page, superintendent, declared the use of mechanical  restraint as unnecessary and harmful in some cases. There was more then one account of the way in which people that been treat, the idea of inhumane shock therapies, lobotomies, drugs to control the patients and the time honoured tradition of the straight-jackets. June 24th 1992 the hospital closed, the buildings were left to rot and it was not until many years later it was demolished.

The property was sold to Avalon Bay Development in December 2005 and they demolished most of the buildings, despite an outcry about the matter. June 2006  spelt  the last of the demolition, including the Kirkbride, only the Danvers Reservoir and original block shell remain, buildings are worked around it, Avalon Bay predicted they would have properties ready by Fall 2007.

A spanner in the works came up April 7th, 2007 when four of the complex buildings and four of their construction trailers burnt down. The fire was visible 17 miles away in Boston and investigation began. Avalon Bay provided a live webcam of the construction at the old hospital site however they cut out around 2:03am; it could be due to the damage from the fire. The underground tunnel to the power plant still exists though it is blocked off, and now the only thing left of the asylum are the cemeteries, blocked off tunnels and the brick shell of the Admin, D and G Wings.

So what of the ghosts? Now converted into apartments there have been reports of flickering lights, of full body apparitions, footsteps and audible sounds, and the doors that like to open and close seemingly of their own accord. Here goes:

2001 horror Session 9 is filmed around here, I thought it was a pretty good film.

In Project 17 by Laurie Faria Stolarz teenagers break in to investigate the haunted asylum.

In Mage: The Awakening (Role play game) the hospital in the World of Darkness was administered by vampires who fed on the patients.

It is also believed to be a widely used source of inspiration for H P Lovecraft’s Arkham Sanatorium, alongside the Asylum that shares the name in Batman. It is referenced by name in H P Lovecraft’s Pickman’s Model.

Silent Hill the game has always been a favourite of mine. I think more than the game I enjoy the concepts presented in the story. I don’t want to be a big spoiler person so I am going to just say that the ideas of personal nightmares and some of the creations fascinate me.

I was, I admit, then quite surprised to hear that there was a town who was closer to the reality of the smoke filled daylight that is presented quite damned well in the movie Silent Hill.

Centralia has a pretty tragic story in itself, a town that slowly dwindled, a few people remain I think. The once bustling mining town became too dangerous to sustain once the coal mines underneath caught accident.  The government have stated that it’s just too expensive to extinguish it and I have to wonder as wonderfully advanced as things might be, how the hell would you start? I’m not an expert so I guess I have no idea but wow… some kind of mission that would be.

I could really go on about this one for some time but I’ve decided instead to post a video of Silent Hill and then one for Centralia for viewing pleasure. I should expect I will venture back to this subject again.

 

 

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