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RI club fire victims eulogized

At least 97 people died in a nightclub fire touched off by a pyrotechnic display.

BY TRAVIS DUNN | WEST WARWICK, R.I. | February 25, 2003

Hundreds of people gathered Monday night at a Rhode Island church to remember the lives of those killed in the tragic nightclub fire here last week.

At least 97 people died in the nightclub fire touched off by a pyrotechnic display at about 11p.m. Thursday. At least 146 people were injured in the fire, which totally destroyed the nightclub known as The Station. Many of the victims have still not been positively identified.

The pyrotechnic display was part of a show put on by the rock band Great White, a 1980s-era rock band made famous by its single "Once Bitten, Twice Shy."

Guitarist Ty Longley died in the fire.

Neither the band nor the night club was willing to take responsibility for the fireworks that sparked the blaze: the night club owner claimed to have no prior knowledge of the fireworks, and the band claimed that the club had given permission to set off the display, according to various news reports.

The Station, had just renewed its "class B victualing license" in December 2002, said fire officials, and there were no known problems with the building. The occupancy limit for the club was about 300.

Local, state and federal investigators were working to determine the cause of the fire, as well as the number of people in the building at the time.

The blaze is the deadliest fire in recent U.S. history, proving even more deadly than 1993 fire at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, which claimed the lives of almost 80 people, and happened in the same week that 21 people were trampled to death in Chicago nightclub.

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