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The Station Club Fire and Club Fire Safety Discussion: (now 10 years later).

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Thor, Feb 20, 2008.

  1. Thor

    Thor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Mod Update: 5 years ago I started this thread, it is still as relevant today as when it first happened. Please take the time to read this thread, especially if you work in clubs, or even attend local shows.
    There are a lot of serious issues, but well worth your attention!

    I got to give big congrats to Dee Snider for organizing the 5th
    year Anniversary Benefit concert for the Station Fire Family
    Fund. Through his personal efforts, he was able to put
    together a star studded line up, and personally recruited a
    flock of musicians to donate their time and services to the
    benefit. The line up is below, and Dee not only got the rock
    world involved, he was able to recruit the ‘Country Mafia’ of
    John Rich and friends who are traveling up at their own
    expense to perform and help out.

    It is events like this where you see some of the music world
    at its finest.

    For those of you who are unfamiliar with the circumstances, 5
    years ago the band ‘Jack Russel’s Great White’ performed a
    show at a small local venue called the Station Nightclub. At
    the beginning of their set, the band manager set off a
    pyrotechnic display that ignited flammable soundproofing that
    had been applied to the walls and ceiling (illegally, I might

    Within seconds the whole ceiling became involved and
    the resulting fire killed 100 patrons and maimed 200 others in
    the 4th worst nightclub fire in US history. The site is about a
    mile and a half from my office and currently serves as an
    impromptu memorial until such time as the legalities of the site
    ownership are clarified.

    The band manager, Daniel Michael Bichele was sentenced to 4
    years in prison on 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter.
    Michael Derderian, co-owner of the club, was sentenced to 15
    years in prison, 4 to serve. He was released on work release,
    but was returned to prison within a day for work release

    Also, his brother , Jeffery Derderian, a local TV
    personality, was sentenced to probation. Both were fined 1.07
    Million dollars for failing to carry state mandated workmen’s
    comp insurance, which would have covered the 4 of their
    employees who were killed.

    The West Warwick Fire Chief noted that if you weren’t out of
    the building within 60 seconds of the fire starting, you were
    dead. That’s a scary thought; keep that in mind next time
    you are at a packed venue.

    Sadly, Great White’s guitarist Ty Longley was killed at the
    show as well. Jack Russell has had the moniker ‘Fake White’
    attributed to the band during 2003, when the tragedy
    occurred. Without a doubt, the publicity surrounding the fire
    did nothing but spur Russell’s career, and he is purported to
    have dedicated the next tour segment of the band to charity.
    What the outcome of that effort was is unclear. Jack has
    since reformed the band with most of the original line up and
    continues to tour successfully.

    What is glaringly obvious is the lack of Jack’s involvement at
    this point.

    Thus, I have to reiterate my admiration to Dee Snider for
    stepping up and making a huge difference for the music fans
    of Southern New England, especially those most affected.


    If you are in the area and can attend or support, the venue is
    the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence RI. Local radio
    including sponsor WHJY have indicated that doors will open
    early – 5:30 – because of the number of artists performing. (I
    forgot to mention WHJY lost their DJ ‘The Doc’ aka ‘Doctor
    Metal’ Mike Goncalves who announced the show. The Doc had
    the only overnight metal show in NE.)

    Also, VH1 told Dee that if he was able to pull a big enough bill,
    they would film the event and that has been confirmed. A
    DVD release is planned for April, I have heard.

    Tickets are still available, this should be a great show.

    Thanks Dee.
  2. JacoLesFlea


    Jun 16, 2006
    RIP to all those that perished on 2/20 six years ago. :(. I just watched the Butler video again and it still gave me a very helpless sad feeling even after not seeing it for all these years. :(. My heart goes out to those who lost loved ones in such a horrific way.

  3. Thor

    Thor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Yeah, thanks for bringing this one back.

    It is still surreal, for sure.

    It's changed the way I attend shows. I saw Dave Mason at
    the Newport Blues Cafe and the place was full. We stood right
    by the door. Mason was sweating so much he shorted some
    of his stomp boxes.
  4. That was really cool of Snider to put together, and really cool of such a disparate group of musicians to get this and keep it going.
  5. Thor

    Thor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well, that show was last year.

    I couldn't go, but I had Funkster up in Worcester pick me up a
    shirt, I gave a modest donation.

    This is still a really big deal here, 100 people lost.


    Jack Russell doesn't come up here much. AFAIK he did one show here since then.

    The Dee Snider effort was a great effort and yeah, that was a
    way cool thing. Dee is a class guy, for sure.

    There have been some insurance settlements made. Most
    people opted to go for the class settlement.

    Dan Bielicki, the band manager, has completed his sentence
    and has been paroled. He is the only one of the band
    organization jailed and the only one who has shown any
    sincere remorse over this situation.

    Little Rhody is pretty small. Pretty much everyone knows a
    family who lost someone.

    If you are not familiar with what happened, hit google.

    Basically, the band set off incendiaries inside, flammable sound
    proofing foam on the walls caught fire and the whole ceiling
    caught fire.

    The Fire Chief in West Warwick noted that if you weren't out
    of the place in the first 60 seconds, you had no chance. :rollno:
  6. Thor

    Thor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well, this is the 6th anniversary.

    I have had requests to bump the original thread as well.
    Feel free to chime in.
  7. Mr. Pickles

    Mr. Pickles Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2006
    Dutchess County, NY
    I played the station a few times in the late nineties with a band that was based in New Haven. Some of my good friends, with whom I had lost touch before the fire, lived in the area. I remember having creepy feelings one day and then read the news. I scanned the local papers for days hoping against hope that they weren't there that night.

    They weren't.

    But what a total tragedy. Props to Dee for his charitable work.
  8. Thor

    Thor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam


    Every musician should be aware of what happened here.
    Every club owner and employee should be aware of what happened here.

    The Brian Butler Documentary Video, the Inferno caught on tape.
    Updated link:

    WPRI cameraman Brian Butler was assigned to do a peice
    on Nightclub overcrowding. His video caught the inception
    of the fire on video tape. The ceiling (flammable) acoustic
    soundproofing foam is fully involved within seconds.


    RIP fans and friends.
  9. JacoLesFlea


    Jun 16, 2006
    When GW said they were never going to play Desert Moon again or use pyrotecnics after this happend....There are vids on youtube of them playing this song....I suppose you get over it and move on but out of respect to all those lost they should have stuck to their word.

  10. Thor

    Thor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I had the opportunity to dedicate the evening last night
    to the Station Fire victims.

    I got a call from the drummer sitting in with us last night,
    he really appreciated the dedication.

    His daughter is a nurse and she was a care giver to many
    of the victims. He called her to let her know that the
    musical community here understands that we we lost
    100 fans who would come out to hear live music on
    a freezing night. People who love live music.

    Anway, it was small thing to do, to announce to the crowd
    and remember.

    But the small things count.
  11. Thor

    Thor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well, tomorrow is the anniversary of the Station Nightclub Fire
    here in little Rhode Island. We lost 100 live music fans
    February 20th, 2003.

    If you as a musician have never heard of this fire, you need
    to know about what happened. Please read the links on post 8
    and Google for further info.

    You will never look the same way at a club stage again. You will be
    much more aware of your surroundings and where the exits are. You
    may understand that the time it takes to put your bass in a case may be the
    difference between living and dying.

    Some updates:

    A settlement was reached over the legal issues, damages and
    payments to survivors totalling 176 million dollars.

    N.B. that the legal fees alone are 59 million dollars. Not a bad
    payday for a few of the lawyers involved. The litigation has taken
    7 years and no funds have been disbursed as of this date, though
    it appears that may seem possible for this year. Citizens Bank is
    to be commended for handling the trust funds and transactions on
    a no fee basis.

    Daniel Biechele was released on parole and completed his
    probation in January 2010. Michael Derderian, club co-owner
    and manager was paroled in Oct 2009. Michael Derderian,
    co-owner, has completed the community service of his

    Anyway, Jack Russell's life continues on as normal, having
    spent no jail time and avoiding any culpability. Great White
    continues to tour. They have not returned to Rhode Island
    since. The band has a different lineup, this is about 3
    iterations later. The appear to have achieved a 1 million
    dollar insurance settlement with the survivors, covering
    the band, Biechele, the tour promoters and record label.

    Final count, 100 dead, and over another 200 injured.

    So, be careful out there, you never know what materials
    people used for soundproofing.

    Anyway bump lest we forget...
  12. MIJ-VI

    MIJ-VI Banned Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2009
    Horrific. Most of those near the stage never had a chance... :mad:




    RIP music fans. Without you there's no us.
  13. MIJ-VI

    MIJ-VI Banned Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2009
    The fire at 40 seconds.
  14. Thor

    Thor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    The rumor is that the people were turned away from the
    stage left exit by band roadies. That is hearsay, but I have
    heard it frequently.

    That left the North exit. What you don't see is that the
    wheel chair ramp/stairs had a railing directly in front of the
    door, and when the panic hit, people who got there were
    unable to clear the door area and the people behind at the
    door and behind were jammed in and unable to exit the
    building. A few of the less severely burned people were
    pulled from the bottom of that pile.

    This thing broke on TV, and as I watched that night I heard the
    fire horns go off in town, Our volunteer FD, 30 miles away
    was mobilized as well as most of the state to triage and
    transport the victims. Some were sent to as far away as
    Mass General in Boston. The local hospitals could not handle
    300 victims without outside help.

    Thanks for adding the diagram and the pics. Finding that 3rd
    exit in 60 seconds, unless you knew the place, would have
    been impossible. Heck, 4 employees there passed away, so
    knowing the place didn't help much.

    It was a sad day for our local music scene.
  15. MIJ-VI

    MIJ-VI Banned Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2009
    Back when I still gigged I played plenty of clubs similar in size to this one (as I expect that many, many gigging musicians most everywhere still do).

    Now knowing the details of what happened at The Station nightclub has changed my outlook on clubs (crowded, confined spaces with limited avenues of egress) in a similar manner to how the 2005 terror attacks in London have changed my approach to using Toronto's subway system.

    I wholeheartedly agree that the account of this tragic event should be required reading for any club playing musician.

    Again, RIP to those 100 poor souls: 98 live music fans who merely wanted to party with friends & enjoy a band; and lead guitarist Ty Longley & WHJY DJ Mike "The Doctor" Gonsalves who were doing their best to make the party happen.
  16. Thor

    Thor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

  17. ...omg...
  18. MIJ-VI

    MIJ-VI Banned Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2009
    "IT HAPPENED AGAIN: Another haunting video, so much like Station club video of doomed people fleeing a charnelhouse. Fireworks burning the plastic foam ceiling, only 1 minute to escape, bodies stacked like cord wood by the exits, poison gas from the burning foam, even the witness statements-identical. This place only had one exit vs 4 for the Station. I once blew through Perm on my way to Siberia. Russia is notorious for having no firedoors and security obsessed fools locking emergency exits.-112 dead, 80 critical- MH Kiev -----Svetlana Kuvshinova said it started after three fireworks fountains spewed sparks, igniting the plastic ceiling. "The fire took seconds to spread," she said. "It was like a dry haystack. There was only one way out. They nearly stampeded me."---- "

  19. MIJ-VI

    MIJ-VI Banned Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2009
  20. Thor

    Thor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Have an exit strategy
    If they have the exit door chained shut, don't play there.
    Complain loudly.

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