The 100 people that died in a Rhode Island nightclub fire back in 2003 may be gone, but they’re certainly not forgotten. Nor will they ever be. Ground has been broken on a memorial on the West Warwick, RI site where The Station Nightclub once resided before it burned to the ground. According to WCVB, a crew has erected a fence around the site’s perimeter to keep visitors out while the memorial is built.
Since the tragedy, a makeshift memorial had been installed on the location full of notes, photographs, flowers, and various mementos not all that dissimilar from the one that was established on Bolyston St. in downtown Boston for the victim of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. The Station Fire Memorial Foundation has alerted loved ones that should they opt not remove any items of interest, they will be placed in a time capsule as part of the permanent memorial, says the Boston Globe.
According to the Associated Press, the Foundation is estimating the memorial to be completely finished by next year.
The Station Nightclub fire is one of the deadliest in history, claiming the lives of 100 people in a fire that engulfed nearly the entire club in just over five minutes. About 232 people were injured due to burns, smoke inhalation, and trampling.
Flames ignited when pyrotechnics caught some nearby flammable sound insulation foam in the walls and ceilings surrounding the stage. 462 total people were in attendance at the popular music venue, despite capacity being listed at just 404.
A subsequent investigation would discover that the club’s fire sprinkler system should have contained the fire long enough to give everyone time to reach safety but due to the building’s old age and then-recent occupancy change, its sprinkler system was exempt from requirements at the time.
The manager of the headlining band who used the pyrotechnics, Daniel Michael Biechele, plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter against the advice of his lawyers and was sentenced to 15 years in prison, with four to serve and 11 years suspended, plus three years’ probation, for his role in the fire. The club’s owners received similar sentences.