Pyrotechnics expert: 'Anything could go wrong'
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ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- A pyrotechnics display is being blamed for a fire that tore through The Station nightclub in Rhode Island on Thursday night, killing scores of concertgoers at a performance by the metal band Great White.
Pyrotechnician Pete "Pyro Pete" Cappadocia talked with CNN's Arthel Neville about the pyrotechnics that might have been used during the performance.
NEVILLE: Pete, you know, the stage manager at the Stone Pony [where Great White used pyrotechnics at a performance last week], his name is Chris Glowicki, he said he had no idea that the band was going to be using pyrotechnics. Is that possible?
CAPPADOCIA: That's very possible. It's very easy. Just as, you know, a kid can go steal the keys to the car and go take it around the block. ... The device ... looks like [it has] three fountains that shot 15 or 20 feet in the air. I tried to time it on my stopwatch using the footage that you guys are showing -- [it] looks to [have been] burning approximately 10 seconds.
That device is a very small device. It's very easy, very easy to sneak in. And [it] wouldn't even need to be snuck in. [It] could have just been brought in and placed down.
And in the scale of drum risers and back-line equipment and gear that's normally brought on the stage, it's maybe two to three times the size of a pack of cigarettes.
NEVILLE: Wow. So Pete, even under a controlled environment, under which circumstances you work in, what could possibly happen? What could possibly go wrong?
CAPPADOCIA: Anything could go wrong. Fireworks, pyrotechnics -- I just have one quick thing. The lawyer that wrote a book and talked about pyrotechnics was interesting because he talked about explosives. We don't use explosives. [An] explosive is a different class; it burns faster, it explodes. Our stuff does not explode. There's a different between explosion and deflagration and combustion.
What we use burns slow. It's made for visual impact. Yes, it's hot; yes, it could set things on fire.
Like they mentioned earlier, if they'd have known they were going to use pyrotechnics, they would have had additional fire extinguishers. Part of getting a permit -- if the building has 10 fire extinguishers but I'm going to do pyrotechnics, I know that I have to bring in additional fire extinguishers.
And the fire department would also tell me to bring in additional fire extinguishers because I now have increased the odds of causing a fire in that building.
CAPPADOCIA: Thus needing more fire suppression.
NEVILLE: Well, "Pyro Pete" Cappadocia, thank you very much for lending your expertise and insider information on that particular angle of the story.