A dedication of the permanent memorial at the site of the GREAT WHITE nightclub fire will be held on May 21.
Former GREAT WHITE singer Jack Russell's pyrotechnics ignited the deadly blaze on February 20, 2003 at The Station in West Warwick, Rhode Island, killing a hundred people and injuring hundreds more.
Russell's bandmate Ty Longley (guitar) was one of the people who perished in The Station blaze, which became the eighth deadliest nightclub and assembly fire in the nation's history.
Fire survivor Gina Russo, who has led the $2 million fundraising campaign for the Station Fire Memorial Foundation, told NPR: "There's still fundraising that we need to do. I met, very briefly, with our construction crew. And they're very confident. They're still working out there, even when we had all that snow dumped on us. And they just told me to pick a date, and I did."
The Station Fire Memorial Park at the Cowesett Avenue site will feature a courtyard, gardens and a walkway. Each victim's name will be engraved on stones shaped like speaker boxes to reflect their love of music.
The memorial will also pay tribute to survivors, family members, first responders and other groups that responded to the tragedy.
In 2008, Russell's GREAT WHITE agreed to pay $1 million to survivors and families of the victims of the fire. They then launched a multi-year benefit tour for the Station Family Fund.
The fire at The Station nightclub in West Warwick began in an overcrowded club when pyrotechnics from Russell's GREAT WHITE ignited illegal soundproofing foam lining the club's walls.
Russell told the 105.9 The Brew radio station in a 2015 interview that the Rhode Island concert incident was "like the 9/11 of rock and roll." He added that he had "this survivor's guilt, like, why did I get to live when so many other people didn't? I feel guilty for people coming to see me play and losing their lives. It's really hard to deal with it."
The singer went on to called the tragedy "just a horrible accident. It was a lot of weird things that had to come into play to make that happen. Like, the fire inspector didn't do his inspection. Or he did his inspection, but he did a faulty inspection. He okayed the foam on the ceiling that they had, which was mattress foam. And that's not legal, to have that up on anything. So the fire marshal didn't do his job right, but you can't indict a public official in the state of Rhode Island, so he didn't get in any trouble. They had a back door where there was a double door. They had a lot of sound complaints from the neighbors behind them, so what they would do is, during the inspection, they would take the second door off, so the push-to-exit door, in case of an emergency, that would open. But when they had concerts, they'd put the second door on, so when you push the emergency bar, the door wouldn't open; it pulled inward instead of pushing outward. And how anybody would know that. It says, 'Push to exit,' so you've got a hundred people in the hallway trying to push on this door, and it ain't going nowhere."
— NewsParot (@newsparot) February 24, 2017
— Carol Kozma (@CarolKozma) February 20, 2017