Ruth Blatt at Forbes.com writes:
At the Station nightclub in Rhode Island, Great White launched their show with a display of pyrotechnics that ignited a piece of flammable insulation on the wall behind the band. The band didn’t see the fire because it was behind them. The audience did see it, but, according to the survivors, many thought that this was part of the show. As analyzed in the book, Killer Show, people didn’t budge because they were committed. They had paid to see the band. They had inched their way to a good spot near the stage. They did not want to go back on those commitments. So they kept watching despite early signs of danger.
On their end, the security guards at the nightclub were committed to their mandate not to let anyone in or out of the band door near the stage. Once the crowd recognized the danger of the fire, some people tried to escape through the band door. But the guards wouldn’t let them. “This door is for the band only,” they repeated. Within 90 seconds of the start of the fire, those who hadn’t exited the club did not survive. Had the security guards been less committed to the rule, more people may have escaped.