Rihanna fans demand refunds after fire ended show; authorities backtrack on cause of blaze

Posted on 11 Jul 2011 at 1:08pm

Fans who attended Friday’s Rihanna show at the American Airlines Center — which was cut short by a fire above the stage — have taken to Facebook to demand refunds, WFAA reports.

As we’ve reported, the fire broke out near the end of the show, after Rihanna had performed for well over an hour, so I’d say a full refund is probably asking a little much. But it’s true that she didn’t get a chance to play some of her biggest hits, and if I had paid for my tickets — and if I really liked Rihanna – I might be demanding a refund, too.

Either way, it’s true that the PA announcer told the crowd they’d be compensated when he announced the concert was canceled and asked people to evacuate. Perhaps he was just trying to get them to comply and avoid a bad situation, but he said it, so I think there should be some form of compensation. A free Rihanna album? A discount to her next show in Dallas? Officials reportedly are meeting today to discuss the matter further.

Also, Dallas Fire-Rescue issued a press release this afternoon backtracking from their initial explanation as to how the blaze started. “Initially, the fire was thought to have started when embers from the pyrotechnics ignited a chair near the stage; however, fire investigators have become aware of new information that contradicts that position,” DFR spokesman Jason Evans said in an email this afternoon. “I am waiting on that information and will update the press release if and when I receive it.”

We will, in turn, keep you posted.

UPDATE: Asked what the new information might be, Evans said the following: “For concern that the new information may not be accurate, I don’t want to tell you what they are considering. However, I did just get off the phone with Arson Investigation and they tell me that, despite new information, they have interviewed some key people and are still leaning heavily toward the originally suspected cause.

“I was told that they should be able to confirm something in the next hour or so. I am waiting on a call back and will send updates as soon as I hear something new.”

UPDATE NO. 2: Evans now says that the cause of the fire was as originally suspected:

“I hate that it took this long just to come full circle, but as it turns out the cause of the fire was as originally suspected,” Evans writes. “However, there are some additional details that are included in the release. … Also, since I received some other questions regarding the Brittany Spears concert, I feel I should let you all know that this incident has in no way effected her concert (at least as far as FD is concerned).”

The press release attached to Evans’ email reads as follows: “Fire investigators determined that the fire started when sparks from the pyrotechnics ignited a fabric chair. The chair was situated to a truss member directly above the pyrotechnics display, where it was being used by a person that was controlling the main spotlight. The person operating the light did suffer a minor burn, but decided not to go to the hospital. No citations were issued.”

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