Thursday, October 06, 2011

Querétaro Nightlife Now Just As Hazardous, But 30% Less Fun

One of the "too good to check pieces of family lore (and it might not even be official family lore, just one relative's drunken ravings) is that our grandparents had reservations at the Coconut Grove nightclub in Boston the night it burned down in 1942, but canceled due to a debilitating migraine - without which, this blog might never have existed. We don't believe it, but we tell the story anyway. (The story about the BC football team, however, is 100% true.)

Anyway, after August's deadly casino fire in Monterrey, security officials in Querétaro decided, "Hmmm... maybe we should take a quick look around town," (the Civil Protection Unit is run by the governor's sister, you see) and immediately confirmed what everyone here already knows, which is that the Centro Historico is a massive firetrap! Eighty percent of the commercial properties lack any kind of emergency exit (including Burro Hall, unless jumping off the roof counts). This is mitigated somewhat by everything being made of stone (which is itself offset by the city having a volunteer fire department), but that's hardly a comfort.

So the smart thing to do would be install fire exits, right? Except that the second word in "Centro Historico" is "Historico," which is Spanish for "Sorry, but INAH says you can't touch that." So the solution, instead, is to keep the overall fire-trappiness in place, but require all the businesses to reduce their maximum capacity by 30 percent. Had this plan been in effect in Monterrey, the death count at the casino would have been 37 instead of 53, and the Coconut Grove toll would have dropped from 492 to 344! Plus, with 30 percent fewer people clawing at the walls trying to escape being burned to death, that's a third less damage to an historically landmarked structure. Win-win!


Juan Olsono said...

This is why I always suggest you buy your cervesa in caguamas. A caguama is the Mexican fire extinguisher. Just give it a good shake and pop the lid... Works great and if you don't burst into flames you can still party.

Anonymous said...

Nana and grumpy WERE going to the Grove that night and, yes, nana came down with a bad migraine, so they stayed home.
It is a TRUE story.