On Sunday, for the first time, the parents, siblings and children of the 96 who couldn't escape were allowed to walk up to the charred rubble of The Station nightclub to pray and say goodbye.
They stepped off buses into the rain outside the club, where firefighters had left dozens of roses for them to hold or place at a makeshift memorial, already piled high with cards and flowers.
At least person was overcome and taken to an ambulance.
"These families are going through such a tragedy, such an emotional odyssey right now, and their hearts are broken, and they still don't know in many cases whether their loved one has been positively ID'd," said Gov. Don Carcieri, who met with the families several times in the days after a rock band's pyrotechnics turned The Station into a raging inferno.
On Sunday, he ordered a no-fly zone within 5 miles of the site to give the families privacy to mourn.
"The agony they've been going through for the last 48 hours almost has turned into what you'd expect, the kinds of questions: 'Why did this happen? Did it have to happen? What caused it to happen? Did some individuals cause it to happen?"' Carcieri said. "We're asking all the same questions."
The band was just getting into its first song Thursday night when sparks from the pyrotechnics ignited foam tiles in the ceiling and quickly spread flames over the crowd of more than 300. Fire officials said the entire building was engulfed in three minutes.
Little remains of the one-story, wooden nightclub today. Against one partial wall lean the bouquets of flowers, stuffed animals and American flags that police had gathered from mourners, who had been kept behind a chain-link fence several yards from the site.
Among those outside the fence Sunday was James Morris, 36, of Warwick, who was supposed to attend the concert, but didn't feel like going out that night. Six of his friends went without him and haven't been heard from since.
"It's unbelievable," he said, hugging his two sons. "It's just awful. They were all young guys in their 20s, early 30s."
A memorial service was planned Sunday night, described as "prayer unplugged," and mourners were encouraged to bring acoustic guitars to honor the victims.
By noon Sunday, 31 of the 96 people killed in the blaze had been identified, Carcieri said. He said 80 survivors remained hospitalized, about two dozen of them in critical condition.
More than 48 hours after the fire, questions remained about whether the heavy metal group Great White had permission to set off the fireworks — and whether anyone should face charges in the deadly blaze.
The club did not have a permit for the special effects. While the leader and an attorney for the band — which returned to Los Angeles without guitarist Ty Longley, missing since the blaze — have said the group got permission from the club before setting off the special effects, the club's owners insist they never approved pyrotechnics use.
"It was a total shock to me to see the pyrotechnics going off when Great White took the stage," said Jeffrey Derderian, a Providence television reporter who had owned the club with his brother since 2000.
Derderian spoke publicly Saturday, breaking down in tears and struggling to regain his composure as he talked about the victims.
"This tragedy has claimed the lives of our friends," he said, "people who are husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, sons and daughters. We will somehow live with this grief, like so many other people, for the rest of our lives."
Derderian was at the club the night of the fire and said he tried to help as many people as he could get out alive.
"It is very difficult to express what I experienced in the club that night," he said. "Please know I tried as hard as I could," he said, choking up and bowing his head. "Many people didn't make it out and that is a horror our family will live with for the rest of our lives."