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Jeffrey And Michael Derderian, Owners Of The Station Nightclub, Tell Their Side Of Story On '48 Hours'

BOSTON (CBS) – The 2003 fire at The Station nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island was one of the deadliest in U.S. history. One hundred people died and more than 200 were injured.

The fire started when the crew of the band Great White set off fireworks on stage. Flames quickly engulfed the building.

After the tragedy, the club's owners Jeffrey and Michael Derderian and Great White tour manager Daniel Biechele were held responsible, but a plea agreement meant there was no trial. Biechele and Michael Derderian served prison time as part of the agreement.

Jeffrey and Michael Derderian are now telling their side of the story for the first time on "48 Hours."

"We wanted the full story to come out, not just some of it, and that for people who want to, come to their own conclusion on what happened that night," Jeffrey Derderian said in the interview with "48 Hours" contributor Jim Axelrod.

Michael and Jeffrey Derderian
Michael (left) and Jeffrey Derderian. (Image credit: CBS News)

Former Rhode Island resident and investigative journalist Scott James wrote a book about The Station nightclub fire called "Trial By Fire." In an interview with WBZ-TV's Paula Ebben, James said the lack of a trial left many questions about the tragedy unanswered.

"It was believed the legal capacity of the nightclub was 300 people, and that was reported for weeks," James said. "But it wasn't 300. It was more than 400 and there is a question about whether or not they really exceeded the legal capacity."

James said another unknown part of the story was the state let the Derderian brothers decide which one would serve prison time.

"The twist of the story that had not been reported was that they allowed one of them to stay free, and one of them could go to prison," James said. "And the way the deal worked, the state said they could decide amongst themselves, which of the two brothers would be the one to serve. And so there's a scene in the book where we see them in a Dunkin' Donuts where they're having this discussion about who's going to be the one better suited for prison. And they decide that Michael is."

The burned remnants of The Station nightclub, after a fire killed 100 people in February 2003. (Photo by Douglas McFadd/Getty Images)

James said Jeffrey Derderian, who is a former TV news reporter in Boston, has always wanted to talk about the fire. "He said to me repeatedly that he always wanted to talk because he always felt that the people who didn't talk, when he was a reporter he always concluded, well they must be hiding something, they must be guilty," James said. "So he wanted to talk."

The 48 Hours episode "The Station Nightclub Fire: Who's Responsible?" airs Saturday night at 10 on WBZ-TV.

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