GREAT WHITE Death Toll At 95

The death toll has risen to at least 95 and may climb to more than 100 in a fire that swept through a Rhode Island nightclub after GREAT WHITE's pyrotechnics display, Gov. Donald Carcieri said on Friday.

"It would not surprise me to see a fatality number of over 100," Carcieri told reporters, adding that more than 160 people were injured in the blaze, including some critically.

Carcieri said identifying the bodies and supporting the victims' families are top priorities.

He said 60 people who had been at the club and escaped have come forward and that all 81 hospitalized victims have been identified.

Carcieri praised fire and rescue crews, saying the first responders "probably saved as many as 100 lives by pulling people out of there."

Standing outside the club site in West Warwick, Carcieri said it was "a sad, sad day for our state. ... It shouldn't have happened. It didn't need to happen."

Pyrotechnics used by GREAT WHITE ignited the inferno. Owners of The Station club have said they did not know the band planned to use fireworks. But GREAT WHITE lead singer Jack Russell said, "Our tour manager set that up with the club."

The band did not have the required city permit for such a display, officials said Friday.

Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch said he was dealing with "a potential criminal investigation."

Carcieri said the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms was involved in the investigation.

Officials estimated there were at least 250 people inside the club at the time of the fire.


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