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Opinion: Weblogs

Updated 3.21.2003
The Station Fire Web log - Week four

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.

Through the Smoke and the Flames: Andrea J. Stewart, news editor of the Rhode Island College Anchor, was injured in the fire, and lost four friends that night. This is her story.

A Mother's Premonition: By Katie Haughey at the Westerly Sun:,

Donovan P. Williams, 32, likes rock music, NASCAR racing, camping and the Dallas Cowboys. However, the pony-tailed father of three hasn't been able to enjoy any of that since he went to see the 1980s metal band Great White a month ago.

Williams, who was raised in Westerly, has been in Massachusetts General Hospital with burns over 65 percent of his body for the last month. The wounds are so severe and so painful, that doctors have kept him in a medicated coma.

Benefit moves: A Sat., March 29 benefit concert for the victims and survivors of the fire has moved from Poirier VFW Post in New Bedford to Hawthorne Country Club, 970 Tucker Rd., North Dartmouth, Mass. (directions)

The organizers are the family of John F. VanDeusen III, who remains in critical condition in R.I. Hospital.

The same bands are expected to play: The bands: 3 Feet Short (Ska/Punk); Awake (Godsmack Tribute); Big Daddy And The Accelerators (Blues/Soul); Crossfire (Stevie Ray Vaughan Tribute); Downdrive; Eminance; Falling 2 Nowhere (Punk/Metal); Govt Cheese (Rage Against The Machine Tribute); Losing Streak; Penpingle; Shipyard Wreck (Blues/Rock).

More info: (508) 994-5796 - ask for Leo or Dawn

Poll: Reaction To Nightclub Tragedies Split:
Billboard reports today,

Of 2,636 voters in a recent poll, 56% admit that the fire that burned the Station in West Warwick, R.I., killing 99, and the mass exodus from E2 in Chicago that left 21 dead have changed their attitudes when going out.

Those are broken into two groups, with 43% admitting they are now more aware of their surroundings and more likely to take note of emergency exits when in such venues. A much smaller group of 13% say they are now less likely to patronize small nightclubs due to safety concerns.

Conversely, 44% said they believe that recent tragic events were isolated incidents and have not affected their behavior when patronizing nightclubs.

Final RI Fire Update (from Brigham & Women's Hospital, Boston): Last Patients Discharged in Good Condition. Dated yesterday,

Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) has discharged the remaining two patients the hospital had been treating since they were admitted following the nightclub fire in (West) Warwick, Rhode Island. A total of eight patients, who first arrived on Friday, February 21, were originally admitted to BWH.

Club fire haunts Strum: This is from a column from the Las Vegas Review Journal that begins,

Reading about the first, inevitable wrongful death lawsuit filed against the band Great White last week made me wince a little. I figured it would make Slaughter bassist-manager Dana Strum wince a lot.

Strum makes some interesting comments about Great White and Jack Russell:

Any band touring in February -- when fans are tapped from the holidays and northern roads tough to travel -- is one that basically lives on the bus, carving out as many as 300 shows per year. ...

...After the fire, "I ran in my mind the movies of how many guys tried to sell us pyro or talk us into it," Strum says. Being self-managed always made the group a little more cautious.

But to tour on that scale, you delegate authority. If Great White singer Jack Russell had a tour manager of some tenure, "he'd have every reason to believe the pyro was tested," Strum says.

"He was going to do a regular show and relied on the people around him. Now he'll never have a regular day in his life again."

Journal/Kathy Borchers
INSEPARABLE: Roommates at Rhode Island Hospital David J. Malagrino, 36, of Westerly, left and William D. Long, 31, of Las Vegas, recovering from their burns. The photo was shot March 10.
Fire survivor counts blessings, awaits discharge from hospital: From the Las Vegas Sun, a story about William Long, road manager for Trip, the band that toured with Great White and opened for them. He was discharged Sunday from Rhode Island Hospital.

At the hospital, he met fellow fire victim David Malagrino, 36, a bartender in Westerly and a regular at the club. They commiserated, while doing their best to focus on the future.

"We feed off each other on a daily basis," Long said. "We've helped each other move on."

He also met a Warwick man, Bob Sevigny, whose kindness and compassion he said "was heaven sent."

Sevigny had showed up at the hospital with magazines, looking for a way to help anyone.

"They brought me right to Bill's room, he was covered in ointments, wrapped up in all kinds of petroleum on his neck and body," Sevigny recalled.

Sevigny helped Long eat at first and shared his excitement when he was able to hold a soda can on his own.

"I didn't know anyone here," Long said. "He's made such an amazing difference."

The New York Times has also profiled the pair. (reg req.)

Three Minutes in Hell: The Station fire killed ninety-nine and destroyed one of hard rock's last refuges: Rolling Stone's account of the fire.

The crowd looked like it always did inside the Station, a roadhouse in blue-collar West Warwick, Rhode Island, on Thursday night, February 20th, 2003. Standing in the back, a tall metalhead named Adam Tanzi, 23, drew on a four-dollar Heineken. Close by, Jay Gates, 37, an off-duty drummer in a popular Van Halen tribute band, Diver Down, ordered a Bud draft. Waiting in line for the men's room was Dave McDonald, a Roger Daltrey look-alike who sings in an outfit called Who's Next. That was the vibe at the Station -- musicians mining Eighties hard-rock nostalgia, together with their loyal fans, and no boundaries in between.

Pyrotechnics Guild International: The site includes a statement about The Station fire that begins,

Our sincerest condolences go out to those who have suffered loss in this terrible catastrophe

We take this opportunity to point out that proper use of proximate pyrotechnics by trained professionals is both safe and enjoyable. These devices are used at over ten thousand events annually without harm to audiences. If well established safety precautions are followed, this proper use as outlined below is inherently very safe.

Fire images haunt photographer: Old (March 3) but interesting story from the Boston Herald about Dan Davidson, who shot the only still photos inside The Station that night.

Lupo's benefit set for Thursday:
Max Creek, Duke Robillard, Tanya Donnelly & Bill Janovitz, Rizzz and Ricky Valente, will play at Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel, 239 Westminster St., Providence. starting at 6 pm to raise money for The Station fire victims.

A $20 donation includes a buffet and admission to The Met Cafe next door. There'll also be a rock & roll auction at 8:30 pm. More info here or call 272-5876.

Monday update: His parents, Phil and Barbara Barr, have posted another of their Monday updates on the condition of Bates College junior Philip Barr of Lincoln. Excerpt:

Philip’s condition improved significantly over the past seven days. He is fully alert, his spirits are good, and he is focused on regaining his health. The doctors continue to expect that he will make a full recovery.

Philip’s respiratory system continues to show signs of healing. Most importantly, he has been breathing independently since Thursday morning. Although he does receive some oxygen enrichment for the air he breathes, the dosage is being reduced gradually. After removing the ventilator on Thursday, the hospital reclassified Philip’s condition as “serious.”

Update on another burn victim -- and a benefit: An email from Dawn Moquin with news on John F. VanDeusen III:

John's son John and his nephew Matthew have planned a benefit concert for the victims and survivors of the fire. They are in a band that will be one of 12 who have donated their talent to our event.

The benefit information and a printable flyer for distribution can be found at

John remains in critical condition in R.I. Hospital and we're taking things one day at a time.

The benefit: Sat., March 29 at the Poirier VFW Post #3260, 281 Appleton St. (Rt.18 - Just north of Tarkiln Hill Road), New Bedford, Mass. Noon to midnight.

The bands: 3 Feet Short (Ska/Punk); Awake (Godsmack Tribute); Big Daddy And The Accelerators (Blues/Soul); Crossfire (Stevie Ray Vaughan Tribute); Downdrive; Eminance; Falling 2 Nowhere (Punk/Metal); Govt Cheese (Rage Against The Machine Tribute); Losing Streak; Penpingle; Shipyard Wreck (Blues/Rock).

More info: (508) 994-5796 - ask for Leo or Dawn

Updates on John's condition are here. You may also leave him a message.

A memorial page: James “Jimy” C. Gahan IV, 21 of Falmouth, Mass., was at The Station in West Warwick on assignment by the Nichols College radio station to interview the band Great White. He graduated in 2000 from Wilbraham & Monson Academy in Wilbraham, Mass., which posts this page.

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

Previous articles? Search Journal Archives

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