Today marks the tenth anniversary of the Station nightclub fire that killed 100 people in West Warwick, Rhode Island.
A decade later, the community is moving forward with plans to honor the victims with something permanent. The Station Fire Memorial Service hopes to break ground on a memorial park at the site of the tragedy later this year. They made the announcement this past Sunday as hundreds of the victims’ friends and family members, as well as many survivors, braved the cold weather and came together to mark the tenth anniversary of the incident. At the ceremony, former Rhode Island Governor Don Carcieri called that night in 2003 the state’s worst tragedy. But he said in some senses, it was also the “finest hour” for first responders and hospital workers who helped save so many lives. All 100 of the victims’ names were also read aloud during the event, followed by 100 seconds of silence.
Jack Russell — whose band Great White was onstage when their pyrotechnics ignited the blaze — also tried to honor the victims with a benefit concert earlier this month. “The Boston Globe” says Russell wanted the funds to go toward the planned memorial park, but the Station Fire Memorial Service asked him not to associate himself with the project. They issued a statement saying they “feel the upset caused by his involvement would outweigh the amount of funds raised.” Russell eventually decided to donate any money raised from the show to the son of Great White guitarist Ty Longley, who died in the fire. However, only about 30 people showed up to the Los Angeles-area gig, which raised an estimated 180-dollars.
Great White’s Jack Russell Explains His Ongoing Silence About Station Fire
Great White’s Jack Russell says there’s a reason why he still rarely speaks about The Station fire. While the rocker has been criticized for his silence — and specifically for not offering up any direct apology for the tragedy — he tells “The Boston Globe” that there’s nothing he can say that is ever “going to make anybody feel any better about it, and sometimes it might make them feel worse.” He adds that he “can’t imagine how people feel who lost like their wife, lost their son, lost their daughter, lost their husband or whatever” in the fire, and that he’ll never truly know “the depth of their pain.” Russell adds that he just always wanted to be a singer, and he hopes that he “put more into this world” than he “took out of it.”