Rhode Islanders hold memorial service for 100 lives lost in Station Night Club fire
WEST WARWICK, R.I. (WLNE) –Rhode Islanders gathered Sunday afternoon to remember the 100 lives lost in the Station Nightclub Fire, 20 years ago.
The official 20-year anniversary was back in February, but state officials said they postponed it for better weather, and to celebrate six years since the memorial park was constructed at the former site of the night club.
Governor Dan McKee and other members of state municipalities were all in attendance and spoke on behalf of the passing of 20 years since the tragedy.
McKee spoke on his memory of the fire, recounting himself as the Mayor of Cumberland at the time. He noted that Cumberland rescue crews also provided aid to the scene of the deadly blaze.
“That is the true spirit of Rhode Island — and its on display here at this memorial site and across our 39 cities and towns,” McKee explained.
“The fire that occurred here 20 years ago impacted and affected so many lives. Everyone has a connection to that day — but it is the inspiring leadership of survivors and family members who make sure that lives were not lost in vain,” the governor concluded.
Congressman Seth Magaziner was also in attendance at the memorial service and addressed those paying respects.
“It is hard to believe its been 20 years — February 20, 2003, a night that hundreds of people came together united by their love of music. 100 of those individuals did not make it home and hundreds more were left scarred for the rest of their lives. The fire left a hole in our community and left a deep scar on Rhode Island — one which we still feel every day,” Magaziner said.
“It is okay to feel angry, it is okay to feel anguish, it is okay to feel uncertain about the future. But, I ask that we also all feel gratitude for living in a state that is so small and so tight knit — a state where we look out for each other,” he continued.
Magaziner further thanked the first responders, doctors, nurses and volunteers that risked their lives to save others on the night of the fire.
Students from the West Warwick High School Facilities Operations and Management program were also in attendance, unveiling a new monument in the memorial park .
Teachers and students worked tirelessly on the monument, designing 100 hearts to represent the lives lost in the tragic fire, as well as a plaque commemorating the 20th anniversary.