Timeline of Station Fire 2003-2013 - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

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Timeline of Station Fire 2003-2013

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by Mark Curtis, ABC6 Chief Political Reporter

mcurtis@abc6.com 

The Station nightclub was engulfed in flames in just minutes, February 20, 2003, just after 11 pm.

Pyrotechnics from the band, "Great White," sparked the fatal fire.

"At this point the rest of the crowd realizes, the ceiling is on fire, everything is on fire and then the glass started shattering and that was when the complete total chaos started," said Gina Russo, who was badly burned but survived the fire.

The investigation found that flammable sound proofing insulation fueled the fast moving inferno.

The club had few exits and many people fell, in the rush to get out.

One hundred people died, hundreds others were injured.

Walter Castle, Jr., said, "These are people I grew up with, that I knew most of my life and within a few minutes, they were all taken away from me in one night."

"Great White's" manager Dan Biechele, who set off the pyrotechnics, was sentenced to 4 years in prison.

Station co–owner Michael Derderian, also went to prison, and his brother Jeff was put on probation.

They were responsible for installing flammable foam insulation in the nightclub.

Victim's relatives spoke at the sentencing.

One mother said, "Bonnie had so much to contribute to this world. Yet she'll never do that now because someone didn't care enough to keep her safe."

The Station had no fire sprinklers, and in the aftermath, laws were changed and most Rhode Island businesses had to be upgraded.

In the ensuing years, the site of the fire has remained a memorial dotted with crosses and mementos.

Friends and relatives gather every anniversary.

Chris Fontaine, who lost her son Mark, said going to the site on anniversaries and visiting with other families is important.

"It's a time of comfort for us," Fontaine said.

Even though it's been ten years, every Rhode Islander we've spoke with recently says, it seems like yesterday.

 

 

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