Two Good Guys waitresses were called to the stand today in the trial of Romanian citizen Vasile Graure, the man accused of setting the club on fire last November. Valerie Kremer, 29, who left her job at the club in September, was working the night shift at the club on the evening of Nov. 3, 2007. When she arrived, a customer she didn’t recognize asked her for a drink and complimented her on her clothes. “You look Scottish,” she recalls him telling her. She asked where he was from. He told her he was from Romania. Kremer says that one year later, she wouldn’t recognize the man if she saw him again.
The man, she says, was “nice”—-if loud, obnoxious, and appearing drunk. After their exchange, Kremer says she didn’t see the man for about 20 minutes—-when she saw him return to the club carrying a “can of gasoline and a lighter.”
“Vladimir [Djordjevic] had his arm around him to make sure he didn’t get any further into the club,” Kremer says. The man “was pouring gasoline anywhere he could possibly pour it.” Kremer says she smelled the gasoline. She didn’t see the fire ignite, but felt the heat on her back and ran toward the bar to tell the bartender what was happening. She says she has no doubt it was the same person who complimented her appearance earlier in the evening.
Later, Kremer made it down to the basement kitchen, where she saw Djordjevic again. “He was like, engulfed in flames,” Kremer says. He was on fire, head to toe, and trying to put himself out with a hose attached to the sink, normally used to clean dishes. It wasn’t working. When Kremer turned and ascended the stairs, she says, Djordjevic was still on fire.
When it was all over, Kremer’s backside and shoulder were badly bruised. She didn’t go to the hospital.
During the cross-examination, the defense questioned whether Kremer actually saw a lighter in the patron’s hand. “You didn’t actually see a lighter,” the defense attorney argued. “I saw a lighter,” replied Kremer. “You saw something shiny.” “It appeared to be a lighter.”
Later, another waitress who was on duty that night, Stephanie Palmer, took the stand. Palmer was working as a “Shooter Girl,” a waitress who circles the club with a tray of shots, trying to sell them for $9.75 a pop. She didn’t sell any that night before the fire. Shortly after she sat down with her tray, “Vladimir and this guy came in,” she says. “They were wrestling. The guy had a canister and he was pouring it all over him, and all over the floor.”
Palmer says she noted the stranger was wearing a red jacket and blue jeans. She and her coworkers looked on, confused at what was happening. Then, the gasoline ignited. “The flames hit the ceiling. It blocked off the doorway,” she says. Everyone ran. There was pushing and shoving. “I felt like my hair was on fire.”
At one point, Palmer lost her shoe and went back to retrieve it. The dancer on the stage nearest the fire, “Golden,” jumped off stage. “She flew,” Palmer says.
When Palmer finally got outside, she watched Djordjevic exit the building, she says. “He came up next to me and said, ‘don’t touch me, don’t touch me,'” she says. Girls began crying and puking from the scent. Palmer stayed with Djordjevic until the ambulance arrives, she says.