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19 February 2013

10 years ago on Feb. 20 -- 100 lives lost at the Station Nightclub fire in West Warwick, R.I.

The following post appeared on this site on 5 Jan. 2013.

It's nearly impossible to believe it, but on Feb. 20, it will have been 10 years since the deadly fire at the Station Nightclub in West Warwick, R.I., that took the lives of 100 people.

That night, the band Great White was performing. Shortly after 11 p.m., the band began its first set -- and as they played their first song, pyrotechnics were set off. Merely 40 seconds thereafter, the area behind the stage was ablaze -- and just 2 minutes after the first pyrotechnics were set off, the entire club was engulfed in lurid black smoke and flames.

Perhaps the most heartbreaking element of this tragedy was that while there were multiple exits to the club, most flocked to the main exit -- and scores of people fell on top of each other, trapping them in the tiny hallway that led from the club to the parking lot.

Of all ironies, the night of the fire, a TV crew from a local station was on site to do a story -- on nightclub safety. The video was released to the public some time after the fire -- and demonstrates the ferocity of the fire, and just how quickly it spread. Of course, a later controversy spread after it was learned the journalist who was doing the piece was actually a part owner of the club -- an egregious conflict of interest.

Further, there was belief -- judge for yourself after seeing the video -- that the person with the camera didn't vacate the club quickly enough after the fire broke out. It was suggested that because he stood still as he did, he made it more difficult for patrons to exit the fire.


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