A few survivors of the 1977 Beverly Hills Supper Club fire were among the dozens of people who met at Northern Kentucky University this past Saturday to discuss what a former club busboy says is new evidence suggesting arson caused the blaze that killed 165 people.
Dave Brock, who worked at the northern Kentucky club at the time of the fire, showed the group photos that he says indicates someone had tampered with electrical wiring in the basement. Brock said the photos weren’t part of the original evidence submitted in the probe and that he got them several months ago from a retired lab worker who helped examine the case.
“All this stuff has been hidden,” Brock said, showing the photos on an overhead projector.
The fire was blamed on faulty electrical wiring, and arson was quickly ruled out. In 2008, a panel of lawyers appointed by Gov. Steve Beshear found no reason to reopen the probe after Brock and other survivors came forward with other photos from the night of the fire.
In its report, the panel concluded the group Survivors for Justice presented “a very tiny shred of evidence of arson and a huge mountain of conjecture, unsupported speculation and personal opinion.”
Among those in attendance at the conference Saturday was Glenn Corbett, a New York fire investigator who helped examine the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. He said he believes there is credibility to Brock’s arson contention but acknowledges he faces a tall task trying to get the case reopened more than three decades later.
“It can get very discouraging when you sort of hit a brick wall and a dead end,” Corbett said. “The fact people are still calling Dave and that you all are here today, that’s the way to keep the ball rolling. You never know what’s going to be around the corner.”
Dana Stallings, who survived the fire but lost her mother, two pregnant sisters, a sister-in-law and an aunt in the blaze, said she was glad Brock was still pursuing the case. But, Stallings said she hadn’t decided whether to believe the arson theory.
“It just happened so fast, and I was in shock for so long, I just don’t know,” Stallings said. “A lot of this is new to me.”
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