WEST WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) – Saturday marks the 18-year anniversary of the Station Nightclub fire that left lasting scars on numerous families and the state of Rhode Island.
The Feb. 20, 2003 fire claimed the lives of 100 people and injured more than 200 others after pyrotechnics sparked the massive blaze during a Great White concert.
A memorial park now occupies the space on Cowesett Avenue where the club once stood, a place where friends and families of the victims, along with survivors, go to remember those lost.
It was completed in May 2017 and dedicated to those impacted by the fire.
Jody King’s little brother Tracy King was working as a bouncer the night of the tragedy.
“What a hero he was,” King said.
Survivors have told Jody his brother was pulling people out of the burning building — never getting out himself.
“What a great brother I had. He threw my wife out, my brother, a cousin, a girlfriend,” he said.
Gina Russo is the President of the Station Fire Memorial Foundation. She knows the pain of losing someone that night — her fiancé — as well as being a survivor herself. Gina was a coma for ten weeks after making it out of the nightclub alive.
Both Russo and King visit the memorial every year — a space they helped to create and establish.
“The healing process has been quite a struggle along the way. I can’t believe it’s been 18 years. We are grateful people have not forgotten. The community is still embracing us and still coming to visit the park,” Russo said.
“This is one of the most beautiful parks. We wanted to make sure no one forgot and everyone remembered,” King said.
Scott Lester also visited the memorial Saturday morning, but to make sure the grounds were clear for people observing the anniversary.
“When I came down today I saw the condition of the park so I figured I would help out and shovel out for those that come, those that lost people and the survivors,” he said.