< Hotel Fire Case,Beverly Hills Tragedy
Building Control
Fire Safety
Your friend in indoor comfort & safety systems
Home Company Services Case Studies References Agencies Daikin-Vrv Handbook Fires / Hotels AskHvacMan Links Save Energy Contact Us
Fires &
Fire ABCs
Some Fire Cases
Fire Books

Big Hotel Fires

Fire Safety
Hotel Fire Case
How to Survive
Big Hotel Fires
Hotel Fire Cases
Fire Hazard Classification
Hotel Sprinkler Systems

Hotel Fire News

Special Fires
Hotel Fires
Ship Fires
Industrial Fires
Hospital Fires
Warehouse Fires

Restaurant/Nightclub Discotheque-Fires

High Rise Fires
Airport Fires
Fires ABC
Big Building Fires
Book About Fires
Fire Stats
Fire Board

Books About Fires

Software About Fires
Fire Sprinkler Software
Fire Egreess Software
Fire Modelling Software
What is Fire Sprinkler
Success Stories
Sprinkler Manufacturers
Fire Pump Manufacturers
Standar for Sprinkler Systems
Sprinklered Hotels

Books About Sprinkler

Public Entry
Recration Areas
 Retail Areas
 Function Spaces
Foods & Beverage
Mechanic Systems
Fire Protection
Site Development
It will be with me until the day I die 2, The Beverly Hills Tragedy

View Larger Map

'Showplace' pulled them in
Since 1971, the Beverly Hills Supper Club had been a magnet. People came from hundreds of miles around to sample the good food, fine wine and national entertainment in the dining rooms, receptions rooms and showrooms.

'It will be with me until the day I die'
As a banquet captain, Wayne Dammert was responsible for 220 people on the second floor of the nightclub 20 years ago on May 28. He led most of his charges to safety down a rear stairway. But Dammert, now 60, still aches for the victims he couldn't reach.
Patrons complained about the heat, but Wayne Dammert noticed only cigarette smoke.

Twenty-five minutes later, the Beverly Hills Supper Club was ablaze.

''There are few days when I don't think about the fire,'' Dammert said. ''It will be with me until the day I die.''

As a banquet captain, Dammert was responsible for 220 people on the second floor of the nightclub 20 years ago on May 28.

He led most of his charges to safety down a rear stairway.

But Dammert, now 60, still aches for the victims he couldn't reach and for one woman - Sharlene Matthews, who booked a room for the Cincinnati Choral union - who died after trying to warn others.

''She was a hero to me,'' Dammert said. ''She did what I was unable to do.''

Dammert has compiled his memories into a book, ''Inside the Beverly Hills Supper Club Fire,'' co-written by Ron Elliott.

He has organized many reunions of survivors and expects a large turnout for the 20th anniversary on Wednesday at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Alexandria.

''Most of the people who were there loved working there; we loved the people who came there,'' Dammert said of his Beverly Hills colleagues.

Dammert, who has lived in Alexandria for 34 years, spent two stints working at the supper club, once called the ''Showplace of the Nation.''

His first job as a card dealer ran from 1957 through 1961. Although gambling wasn't legal then - or now - government officials winked at the practice, Dammert said. Later, a push by a reform-minded sheriff and citizens against gambling temporarily shut down Beverly Hills and other Newport clubs.


Dammert's second tour of duty was as a banquet captain from 1972 until the fire in 1977.

The club was packed with more than 2,400 patrons during the Memorial Day show with John Davidson.

At 8:35 p.m., a co-worker asked Dammert to approve a customer's check in the first-floor Zebra Room. The room felt slightly warm.

''There were complaints of heat, but I didn't notice anything,'' he said. ''There wasn't anything other than cigarette smoke.'' He went back upstairs.

By 9 p.m., a waitress told him there was a fire in the Zebra Room.

He ran down ''to see what I could do to help,'' Dammert said recently, sitting at his kitchen table.

''We saw a wall of black smoke, and a waitress asked me what to do. I said, "Stand here and direct the people out.' ''

Dammert ran back upstairs and told people to leave through a rear service entrance and the club kitchen. The front spiral staircase was already full of smoke.

Dammert tried to reach patrons in the second-floor dressing rooms but couldn't make it. Dammert, an engineer by day, knew the layout of the club; he knew there were doors leading to the roof and

asked several customers to break them down.

But those doors were locked and didn't give in. As the smoke and heat intensified, Dammert gave up his search for patrons.

''A picture of my wife and my children flashed through my eyes. I thought, "I have to get out of here,' '' Dammert said.

Outside the club, Dammert grabbed an ax, climbed a ladder and tried to break down the roof doors. ''But the smoke hit us in the face,'' Dammert said. He climbed down and went to the rear of the club.

''I saw two busboys and one was crying. They said it was terrible in the back. I could hear people yell for oxygen.''

Dammert spent the next few hours covering the dead with coats and praying for their souls.

Amid heroics by patrons, firefighters and staff, Dammert also saw some ghoulish acts: Three men were charged with stealing from the dead.

His wife and four children had spent the night watching television news, not knowing his fate. Later that night, Dammert hitched a ride to the Newport police station and finally called home.

''I could hear the kids cheering,'' he said. ''They thought I had died.''

Toxic materials added to the toll
Cincinnati lawyer Stan Chesley uses a seat cushion from the Beverly Hills Supper Club to demonstrate how toxins from the pillow contributed to the deaths of 165 people nearly 20 years ago.

Faulty wiring focus of blame
The official investigations into what caused the fire at the Beverly Hills Supper Club were inconclusive, but the factor most often cited is aluminum wiring.

The Beverly Hills Tragedy 1

The Beverly Hills Tragedy 3

The Beverly Hills Tragedy 4

Back to Hotel Fires

Air Grilles
Air Diffusers
Air Quailty
All Air Systems
All Water Systems
Building .Managament Systems ..BMS
Cooling Towers
Cooling Load Calculation
Energy Saving
Duct ,Smacna
Dampers ,Air
Dust Collection
Fire Dampers
Glass Selection
Heat Exchangers,water
Heat Recovery
Heat Tracing Systems
Hepa Filters
Hvac Applications
Humidifiers / Dehumidifiers
Insulation , Duct
Insulation , Pipe
Insulation , Sound
Nano Tech.,In Building
Occupancy Sensors
Pneumatic Conveying
Pool Ventilation
Process Piping
Radiant Heating
Refrigerant Systems
Solar Collectors
Steam Generation
Tables & Charts Gnr.
VAV Sytems
VRV Systems