Rhode Island Club Fire Trial May Start Next Year

It will probably be next year before trial begins for the owners of a nightclub where 100 people died in a fire and a manager of the band whose pyrotechnics show sparked the blaze, a judge said Friday.


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The Incident
First-In: Heroic Rescues
Death Toll Rises to 97
At Least 96 Dead in Inferno
Rescuers Struggle with Horror
Fire, Smoke Turns Club Into Hell
Discuss the Warwick Tragedy

The Aftermath
Judge Refuses to Delay Civil Proceedings
Butterfly Garden to Be Dedicated
State Turns Over Evidence
State Turns Over Evidence
FBI Agent to Review Corruption
Group To Fundraise For Memorial
Two Dozen Defendants Added
R.I. To Release More Tapes
Judge: 911 Calls 'Secret'
Lawsuit From Nightclub Fire Filed
Consultants Fault Lack Of Planning
Judge: Evidence Will Be Preserved
Gag Order Sought in Club Fire
Changes to Safety Laws Since Fire
Few Changes After Club Blaze
Web Site Comforts RI Patients
RI Gov. Orders Strict Inspections
2 Families Sue in RI Club Blaze
RI Nightclub Claims May Total $1B
RI Nightclub Death Toll Rises to 98
Victims Face Long Recovery
All But 4 Victims ID'd
Thousands Mourn Victims
IDs Could Take Days
Family, Friends Search
9/11 Widow Reflects
Survivors Recall Heroic Acts

The Investigation
Patron Capacity Unclear in RI Fire
Band Member Testifies
RI Reports Don't Mention Foam
Fire Inspector Report Released
Post-9/11 Drills Aid Club Rescue
Federal Team Launches Probe
Grand Jury Begins Probe
Brannigan: Inspectors Ready?
Investigation Ramps Up
Investigators Check Soundproof
Pyrotechnics Examined in Clubs
Disasters Prompt Inspections
Sprinklers Not Required
Nightclub Up to Code Before Fire
Town Withholds Records
RI Begins Inspections
No Warning of Pyro Use
Pyrotechnics Usually Safe
Atty: RI Club Rep. OK'd Pyrotech.
Fire Challenges State Atty. Gen.
IDs Weighed Heavy on Dentists
FEMA Denies Disaster Aid for Fire

Photos & Video
IBS Scene SlideShow
ABC: The Fire Starts
WJAR Video Feedroom

History of Tragedies
Carter: History Strikes Again
Fire, Life Safety Laws in Front
Tragedy Recalls Cocoanut Grove
Worst Club Tragedies
Nightclub Disasters Too Familiar
List: Worst Club Tragedies

Related Sites
West Warwick Fire Department
Warwick Fire Department
FH Network: Rhode Island
Providence Journal Coverage

The Station nightclub owners Jeffrey and Michael Derderian and former Great White tour manager Daniel Biechele each face 200 counts of involuntary manslaughter, two for every victim of the Feb. 20, 2003, fire.

Proceedings in the criminal case could start by next January ``if we're lucky,'' Superior Court Judge Francis Darigan said Friday. He had originally said the case would begin by fall.

Issues surrounding such topics as tests on the foam and the transfer of evidence to defendants must be resolved before the trial can begin, Darigan said.

In addition to the 100 dead, hundreds of people were injured when sparks from the band's pyrotechnics ignited the club's highly flammable soundproofing foam.

Investigators have said the foam allowed the fire to spread quickly and released toxic substances that may have caused some of the deaths. Under state law, flammable material is not supposed to be used as soundproofing in clubs and bars.

Foam samples were recently tested by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, with results expected shortly, Darigan said.

The three defendants recently filed motions seeking to conduct their own tests on the foam. Lawyers in the recently consolidated civil cases, brought by survivors and victims' family members, also want to obtain foam to test.