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Brazil Fire puts the Spotlight on 29 Palms and the Casino Coming to Town

By   /   January 29, 2013  /   5 Comments

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The disaster, the worst fire of its kind in more than a decade, also raises questions of whether Brazilian authorities are up to the task of ensuring safety in such venues as it prepares to host next year’s World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.”

In like manner, Twentynine Palms also raises questions of whether decisions-makers are up to the task of insuring the safety of the 29 Palms Band of Mission Indian’s investment in a CASINO, or all of the tens of thousand of visitors to the CASINO.

Conjointly, Country Inn, Best Western, Motel Six, and other numerous motels in town including the Roughley Manor Bed & Breakfast pay huge sums of Tourist Development Tax (bed taxes) for public safety and fire protection. After June 30, 2013, all will be in peril and their patrons will be in harms way.


In four months living the aftermath of a gutting fire department, the one engine and its three firefighters are deployed at the far reaches of North Desert Heights on the ground assisting in rescue, first aid and fire suppression. Those un-maintained primitive roads are difficult to maneuver with a cumbersome fire engine and must traverse sandy roads with slow caution.


LEAR Station 422 will be closed because the city’s possible criminally negligent in failing to provide for public safety. Keep in mind that the downtown Station 421 will continue to service Indian Cove and all of Desert Heights water ratepayers.

Where does this leave those 29 Palms chain hotels, motels and the STATERS Shopping Center, or the three schools for that matter?

Keep in mind Twentynine Palms could conceivably have its own  Brazilian-style “firegate” and the morgues in the basin would be overflowing with loved ones and, heaven forbid,  the city’s greatest treasure of them all, local students.

Common sense urges our decision-makers to rethink their refusal in looking the other way on their responsibility in terms of public safety and fire protection.

It seems BRAZILIAN authorities may be negligent. “Hundreds of people marched peacefully outside the nightclub Monday night to remember the victims, and demand justice. Some carried signs with slogans such as, “May God’s justice be carried out.”

Focus turns to Brazil club safety after fire

SANTA MARIA, Brazil (AP) – There was no alarm, no working fire extinguisher, no sprinkler and almost no escape from the nightclub that became a death trap for more than 200 Brazilian college students.

As investigators began poking through the rubble and families mourned their dead, the university city in southern Brazil tried to understand how the Sunday morning blaze that killed 231 people could have been sparked in the first place, then rage rapidly out of control.

Why was there only one door available for exit and entry? What was the flammable material in the ceiling that allowed the conflagration to move so quickly? And, more pointedly, why was a band playing at the club allowed to use pyrotechnics inside the building?

Full story Click Here

JULIANA BARBASSA / Associated Press / Updated Tuesday, January 29 4:51 AM PST

Associated Press writers Marco Sibaja contributed to this report from Brasilia, Brazil, Stan Lehman and Bradley Brooks contributed from Sao Paulo and Jenny Barchfield contributed from Rio de Janeiro.

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About the author

Branson Hunter

(This story was posted by Cactus Thorn contributor Branson Hunter)

"The ends do not justify the means." If you use illegal mean to accomplish a legal and even desirable result, the good result does not make the bad means you used justifiable.


  1. RescueGuy RescueGuy says:

    Branson, that is one idiotic leap of logic.

  2. Steve Whitten Steve Whitten says:

    Hello Branson.

    Can you confirm whether or not the Brazilian Club had Fire Sprinklers? I doubt it did. (Third World Country)

    Our IBC/UBC Building and Fire Codes will require the New Casino be sprinklered (Over 5,000 SF).

    • Hi Steve W:

      That is exactly my point — gross negligence on the part of public officials for being underfunded and uncaring about public safety.

      [SANTA MARIA, Brazil (AP) — There was no alarm, no extinguishers, no sprinklers and almost no escape from the nightclub that became a death trap for more than 200 Brazilian college students.]

      “The air turned dense and dark with smoke; there was no light” — this is exactly why response time is critically important. Very quickly the respiratory shuts down and one simply is unable to breath.

      I will forever maintain — sprinklers or not — a “one-horse” town with only one fire engine covering an expansive area in 29 from E-W, from N-S, and to which covers the entire Desert Height area is ill equip with 3 firefighters.

      In such situation, firefighters suited up with fire retardant suits and oxygen tanks (and back up firefighters to comply with Cal/OSHA codes) can go in a structure, provide oxygen, and lead people to safety — including the Indian Casino soon to begin construction, schools and hotels.

      Should tragedy strike, it could be criminal negligence on the part of decision makers.

  3. RescueGuy RescueGuy says:

    IBC/UBC also requires more than one exit in a building of that size, which certainly was not the case in Brazil, and was the real cause of the tragedy. Even suggesting the new casino might have similar problems and cause harm to the good residents of 29P is ridiculous. Get a new drum Branson, yours is worn out.

  4. Rick Ward says:

    Is Chicken Little’s paranoia proof that the sky is not falling?

    The minimal police protection that we receive and the future minimal fire protection is of small comfort to the political prisoners of 29 Palms.

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