The death toll continues to rise after a huge fire trapped dozens of people inside a Rhode Island nightclub. This is the second deadly fire inside a nightclub this week. Warwick customers were watching a concert when the flames started.
"It just went up the ceiling and people just stood and watched it," said Brian Butler, a photojournalist for WPRI.
Butler was inside the club when the fire started, ironically, covering a story on nightclub safety.
Other witnesses say by the time most people realized they were in danger the situation had gotten worse.
"We all started toward the door and we got bottlenecked in the front door," Butler said. "You saw people stacked on top of each other trying to get out the front door."
Rhode Island firefighters say instead of using all the fire exits, people tried to go out the same way they came back in. Many were trampled to death.
Wausau Fire Captain Ron Omernick says in such a situation, it's important not to panic.
"The question people always ask me is how do you reduce the panic," Omernick said. "A good way to do that is when you go into a commercial establishment, you want to look around, you find out where the exits are located."
Omernick says it's not enough just to know where the exits are, however. People also have to make sure exits are clear and useable.
"Are the mechanisms for opening up the door operable?" Omernick asked. "Obviously during the winter months you want to make sure the doors are simply going to work."
Although it may seem unnecessary at the time, Omernick says, people are ultimately responsible for their own safety.