WEST WARWICK, R.I. (AP) -- Confusion over the maximum capacity at a nightclub that burned last month is hindering answers to two key questions _ whether too many patrons were let in and whether the club had enough exits.
West Warwick Town Manager Wolfgang Bauer said Tuesday that two documents give conflicting maximum capacities at The Station, where 99 people were killed and more than 180 were injured in a fire Feb. 20.
``We are just trying to make sure which paper is valid,'' said Bauer, who did not reveal the number in either document.
The state fire marshal's office said Tuesday it was looking into what role the building's four exits may have played in the disaster. According to search warrant documents, investigators had taken three metal doors and one wood door from the rubble.
Bauer said a grand jury would be looking into the issue of maximum capacity this week as part of its investigation into the fire. Several documents have been subpoenaed.
State Fire Marshal Irving J. Owens said officials were trying to determine maximum capacity by measuring square footage and reviewing ways the owners may have increased the number of people allowed, such as by removing pool tables.
State officials have estimated that more than 300 people were in the club at the time of the fire. Initial reports said the allowable capacity was 300.
Also Tuesday, Gov. Don Carcieri said Rhode Island will get federal help to recover from the fire, including money from the Department of Health and Human Services and low-interest loans from the Small Business Administration. Carcieri met with Bush administration officials over the weekend.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has denied the state's request for millions in disaster aid to pay overtime for rescuers, equipment and other costs.