Brazil blaze recalls pain for RI fire survivors

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 27, 2013 at 3:26 pm •  Published: January 27, 2013
Advertisement

Argentina, a year later. Thailand in 2008. Russia in 2009.

For survivors of a 2003 Rhode Island nightclub fire that was one of the deadliest in U.S. history, the fire in Brazil that killed hundreds Sunday is the latest in a series of reminders that no matter how far away, those who ignore the lessons of their tragedy can pay a horrible cost.

On a cold night in February 2003, the rock band Great White took the stage at The Station nightclub in West Warwick, R.I. During the show, pyrotechnics set fire to flammable soundproofing foam that lined the walls and ceiling, killing 100 and injuring 200.

Over the decade since, survivors have come together time and again over news of similar disastrous fires overseas.

"We're very tight," said Todd King, one of the survivors. "You can't put into words what we saw."

He said he was woken up Sunday morning by a storm of text messages from others who survived the Rhode Island fire, asking, "Can you believe this is happening again?"

"I'm surprised nobody has learned," he said.

Another Rhode Island survivor, Victoria Eagan, said she and others noted that each of three earlier fires was caused by indoor pyrotechnics igniting with material in the building. Investigators have just begun their work in Brazil, but witnesses said a flare or firework lit by band members may have started the fire.

"I had the same reaction as the other three times," Eagan said Sunday. "We're doomed to repeat history and I wish they could learn."

In the year after the Rhode Island fire, a flare ignited ceiling foam at an overcrowded nightclub in Buenos Aires, Argentina, killing 194 people.

Continue reading this story on the...