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Opinion: Weblogs

Updated 3.14.2003
The Station Fire Web log - Week three

Link to this page. Seen something this blog should point to? Email Sheila.
To read chronologically, start from the bottom of this page.)

Week one • Week two Week three Week four Aftermath
Complete Providence Journal coverage (reg. req.)

Photo by Anthony Baldino III
The Station in West Warwick, before the fire. The mural -- with images of Janis Joplin, Steven Tyler, Elvis, Jimi Hendrix and Ozzy Osbourne -- was painted by Anthony Baldino III last summer and fall.

I've been off staff for a few days, so here's a week's worth of links.

Hope Valley firefighter Mike Scanlon sends a great tale:

I am the Deputy Chief of the Hope-Jackson Fire Co. Hope R.I. My department sent two rescue units from Hope and one rescue unit from Potterville Fire Department to the fire at The Station and transported several people. But what brought the biggest impact to me was a medical aid call that I was directed to at a home in West Warwick.

As we were returning from the hospital for the second time, we were released to return to our town. Then we were asked to respond to a emergency medical house call off Factory Street in West Warwick for an elderly woman having difficulty breathing. When we arrived on scene we met a Cranston Fire Department ladder truck whose crew was treating the woman. We started to stabilize the patient, who was on home oxygen, and in obvious respiratory difficulty, to get her ready to go to the hospital when she stated that she was not going to go to the hospital because "she did not want to take any attention away from the young people hurt in that fire." She was very insistent, so my crew and I helped stabilize her, made her comfortable and made sure that her husband knew to call for help if her condition did not improve.

The charity of this woman just brought the enormity of the whole incident into a real perspective. There are a lot of stories of heroism, unselfish behavior, firefighters and police officers, EMT's going beyond the physically possible, but this woman, just stressed to me the length that people are willing to go to help.

Angels of Rhode Island is a memorial site for those who perished in the fire:

It is here to commemorate their life story, their accomplishments, the people they touched in their lives, pictures, poems, writings, awards, and messages from those they loved and left behind.

Their life story will be available here for viewing all the time, so you can come and spend some time with a friend and/or loved one.

All memorials will be constructed free as requests are made. This site does not cost nor will it ever charge for the creation of a memorial. I will do all I can to make a memorial to your loved one something that will give comfort and pride for years to come. A memorial here will be available for future generations.

I am currently asking that family or friends send in photographs or any other material relevant to capturing the memory of their loved ones, include birth date. Please send the information to or call 508-878-5574.

There's a story about it in the Cranston Herald.

Din4Skin is an interesting attempt by Matthew Moniz, soundman by night, scientist by day, to stage benefits to provide artificial skin to the burn victims of the fire.

Victims' condition updates on the Web: (Daily hospital updates are linked from's main Station Fire page. reg. req.)

Gina (Catallozzi) Gauvin, 42, of Johnston, listed in critical condition at UMass/Worcester. Her sister Denise gives almost daily condition updates to , who's maintaining this page for Gina as well as coordinating fundraisiing efforts on her behalf, especially by fellow reptile owners.

The latest, posted yesterday:

Gina started Aggressive Burn Treatment yesterday (Wednesday). They basically give her a shower to clean her up and to remove any dead tissue. The Doctor said she opened her eyes while they were in the process of her treatment. She gave him a foggy look. But as always she is still fighting- The nurses are saying that they know that she can hear them when they talk to her because of her reactions. She sometimes moves her mouth like she's trying to say something- but she can't because of the tubes down her throat- which hopefully they will be able to remove soon.

Philip Barr, 21, of Lincoln, listed in serious condition at Rhode Island Hospital. Phil and Barbara Barr of Lincoln, parents of Bates College junior Philip Barr, have been updating this page on Mondays. Here's an excerpt from this week's report:

Yesterday, the ventilator settings were reduced to a point that allowed the doctors to eliminate the paralytic drug that had immobilized him for the past eleven days.

Within two hours after the paralytic drug was removed, Philip's eyes opened and he acknowledged our presence. By late afternoon, he was responding to questions and letting his feelings be known through hand gestures, head and eye movements. He tries to talk, but the tubes in his throat prevent him from doing so.

Needless to say, Sunday afternoon was great! Philip clearly demonstrated to us that his spirit is intact. With that knowledge, we feel confident that he will continue to improve and accelerate his rate of recovery.

You may use this page to send a message to Philip Barr and other victims at Rhode Island Hospital.

Robert Rager, 31, of Kent, Ohio, Brigham & Women's, good condition. Rager is a Cleveland sound man hired for the Great White tour. The bottom of this page at has the latest:

3/12/2003 8:00 p.m.
Today we can report Bob is doing better.
He is awake.
His skin grafts are taking well.
Good news -- word is he will be flown back to Cleveland on Monday, 3/17/2003

News stories

The new nightlife: A roundtable discussion among club owners Rich Lupo (Lupo's, downtown Providence), Kevin Cummings (Cats and KC's Tap in Pawtucket), Kevin Finnegan (Ocean Mist, S. Kingstown) and musicians Jason Kendall (Amazing Crowns, Deterrents) and Neal Vitullo (Yound Neal and the Vipers) on the future of the local music scene and the impact of pending legislation. At the Providence Phoenix.

Critical condition: The cost of caring for victims of the Station fire will stress the already fragile economic health of Rhode Island's hospitals. Also at the Phoenix, my former colleague Brian Jones notes in this fine piece, "As many as 36 of the estimated 217 persons cared for by the hospitals may not have medical insurance. The cost of providing free care could run into the millions of dollars."

Club fire impacts LU 107 & 94 (New England Regional Council of Carpenters)

The fire that burned “The Station” in West Warwick, Rhode Island had tragic consequences for the Brothers and Sisters of the Carpenters Union. One member of Local 107 in Worcester and five members of Rhode Island Local 94 were at the club that night to see Great White perform.

Doctors' disaster training tested by Rhode Island nightclub fire (AMNews, at the American Medical Association site)

"All of the injuries are remarkably deep. Most of the burns are not routine third-degree burns," said Rob Sheridan, MD, co-director of the burn unit at Boston's Massachusetts General Hospital, which got 14 patients.

Those who fought to save lives (The Warwick Beacon, Feb. 25. A good story we missed earlier.)

Those who died in the fourth deadliest fire in the nation’s history Thursday night went quickly, perhaps never knowing what overcame them. “They were killed by smoke inhalation. No one died of burns. They never felt the flash over. They didn’t die an agonizing death,” Peter Ginaitt said Sunday.

Wall of Flames, by Amy Bowers, in the Notes from the field section of The Digital Journalist.

It was a fire. Not a terrorist attack, not a biological attack, no cloud. We know how to cover this kind of disaster. We ask questions, we observe. We park dozens of satellite trucks, move them, and park again. We "stand in front of the camera and talk."

A Tragedy of Ethics by Jim Parisi at The Digital Journalist.

So what the hell was Channel 12 doing, on the reporter's first week on the job allowing him to write a piece on safety using B-roll of his own club???

Last week's Station Fire Web log is here. Week one is here.

Previous articles? Search Journal Archives

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