Rhode Island marks 10th anniversary of nightclub fire
Crosses are stand at the site of the Station nightclub fire May 10, 2006 in West Warwick, Rhode Island. / Darren McCollester/Getty Images
Wednesday marks the 10-year anniversary of the devastating Rhode Island nightclub tragedy that took the lives of 100 people and injured more than 200 others.
CBS affiliate WPRI reports that Southern New Englanders are taking time throughout the day to remember the lives lost in one of the deadliest fires in U.S. history.
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Jody King remembered her brother, a bouncer at Station Nightclub and a father of three. He said Tracy died while trying to save others.
"I hopped out of bed and took off and spent the next seven or eight hours combing and looking for Tracy that night and then spent the next four or five days at the Crowne Plaza with the rest of the families," King told WPRI.
David Kane's son Nicky, was the youngest victim in the fire. He told the station how ten years later, the tragedy of that night is still very much real.
"It is tough for anybody. It is tough for all the families. We feel and have always felt that our son Nicky is with us in a very real sense and continues to be - just as we would not leave him, he would never leave us."
The fire erupted on February 20, 2003 when the tour manager for the rock band Great White set off a flashy pyrotechnics display in an overcrowded nightclub. The club's owners had tried to lessen noise complaints by lining the walls with what turned out to be flammable packing foam.
On Sunday, the Station Fire Memorial Foundation unveiled plans for a permanent memorial. WPRI reports the estimated $15 million memorial will feature a 30-foot-high entrance gate, an open air pavilion and winding paths leading through a dozen memorial gardens.
Survivors and relatives of those killed in the 2003 fire also gathered at the nightclub site Sunday to mark the 10th anniversary. Many brought flowers and paid their respects at handmade crosses memorializing those who died.
"People that weren't here really don't understand why we can't let this stuff go. I was 30 seconds away from dying," Walter Castle Jr., 39, told The Associated Press. Castle suffered third-degree burns in his lungs, throat and bronchial tubes. He said he lost many friends in the fire and was in counseling until 2009. As the 10th anniversary approached, he said he began having terrible nightmares and went back into counseling.
"It's just very tough," he told the AP.
The Station Nightclub fire's 10th anniversary comes just weeks after a similarly devastating fire at a nightclub in Brazil that killed over 230 people. Police believe the source of the blaze was a band's small pyrotechnics show.
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