10 Years Later: The Station Nightclub Fire - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

10 Years Later: Survivors cope with guilt

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By: Andrea Medeiros

amedeiros@abc6.com

It is the 10th anniversary of the Station Nightclub fire and, since that fateful night, only one employee of the club has spoken publicly about what happened: stage manager Paul Vanner. He and other survivors are living with the guilt of why they made it out, while so many others didn't. Hundreds more got out without any injuries but are still carrying scars, wondering if they could have done more to save lives.

All these years later, Paul Vanner is still wracked with guilt, knowing all of those people died and he didn't.

Vanner said, "last night was terrible. I'll tell you I had about a hundred dreams a minute it seems to me."

Vanner was the stage manager the night pyrotechnics at a Great White concert lit the Station Nightclub on fire killing one hundred people.

"A friend of mine was working the back bar and I went and got her and said we gotta go kid. It's really bad. This is not good. We gotta get out of here," said Vanner.

They got out safely through a hidden door in the kitchen, but that doesn't mean Vanner made it out ok.

All this time, he's been dealing with the "what ifs."

"If I had just shut the band right off then and there's a microphone at the board you can, one of us could have made an announcement at least let people know it wasn't part of the show,"  said Vanner.

Survivor's guilt is something Jody King also deals with. His brother, Tracy, was a bouncer at the Station Nightclub and died in the fire.

"You don't want to walk in my shoes," said King.

King says his brother invited him to go that night.

"Tracy asked me to go and I said oh Tracy I'm a fisherman I get up way too early and I didn't go," said King.

King knows a lot of people made mistakes before and after the fire that contributed to all of the deaths, but he's not angry. Instead he's happy his brother died doing a job he loved.

"Now that I've been around here for ten years, I know of five people he pulled out of the fire, so he died doing a good job. He died a hero," said King.

 

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