WEST WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Fifteen years later, emotions are still raw after the Station Nightclub Fire claimed 100 lives.
On Sunday, family and friends of the victims had a chance to honor and remember those lost in the tragedy, all hoping nothing like it ever happens again.
“I see the faces and they’re still hurting. It’s not going to matter how many years go by,” Gina Russo, a survivor of the nightclub fire.
Fifteen years without them, the one hundred people killed in the tragic fire were remembered at a permanent memorial on the Cowesett Avenue site.
“That raw emotion. Pain of day one is still there, so it’s hard for me and it hurts I can’t just make it all better,” Russo said.
But survivor Gina Russo has certainly tried.
While in pain herself, she helped create a place of peace, a memorial where victims’ loved ones can come to reflect. And since it opened last May, they do come to remember.
Regina Sanetti sat in silence Sunday afternoon as she looked at the face of her niece Bridget Sanetti etched in stone at the memorial, thinking about her life cut short.
“We can’t have Bridget back. This place serves as a reminder of that as well that none of these people, none of these one hundred, or any people who were injured, those who lost their loved ones. I sat with an individual whose wife passed and he’s still absolutely devastated,” Sanetti said.
The 15th anniversary of the horrific fire was on February 20th, but a ceremony at the memorial was postponed three months later to Sunday.
“It’s raw, it still is raw, it always will be,” former Governor Don Carcieri said to those at the service.
Each of the victims’ names were read aloud so as to never forget.
Another one of the 273 survivors, Gina Gauvin, has turned her scars into works of art as a way to carry on.
“I think of them often, but you know, you’re a survivor so try not to let it get you down too much,” Gauvin said.
It was a tragedy so large that survivors and family hope they can use it to make a change, demanding a law for mandatory fire sprinkler systems, something the Station Nightclub didn’t have.