The fire in the blue-collar community of West Warwick, about 12 miles south of Providence, seemed to touch everyone in this small state.
``They say there are six degrees of separation in this world. In Rhode Island, there's a degree and a half,'' Lynch said after the blaze. ``The pain rips through this community quicker than any other.''
Authorities investigated the blaze for more than nine months, picking through the charred remains of the site for evidence and interviewing witnesses. They seized computers, documents, club records and appointment books from band members and the club's owners. Investigators also took inspection reports from the town and receipts from a foam manufacturer and collected dozens of items from the site of the fire, including club doors, wiring, spray paint and foam samples.
In the wake of the fire, Gov. Don Carcieri called for emergency inspections of all public buildings similar to The Station nightclub, and the state formed a commission to investigate the blaze. State lawmakers passed stringent new fire-safety standards, including stricter rules on sprinkler requirements for older buildings.
The blaze also led other states to propose tougher fire regulations for nightclubs and prompted finger-pointing among local officials. Fire and building inspection reports released by the town of West Warwick never mention the foam that surrounded the stage, and the club had passed its last inspection - two months before the fire.
Jeffrey Derderian was a longtime television reporter in Rhode Island and Boston, and known to many in the region. He was at the club during the night of the fire.