PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee said Monday he was open to using eminent domain to seize the site of a 2003 nightclub fire that killed 100 people so families of the victims and survivors could build a memorial on it.
The blaze at The Station nightclub in West Warwick on Feb. 20, 2003, was set off when pyrotechnics for the band Great White set fire to flammable foam that lined the club’s walls. Three people were convicted in the blaze: club owners Jeffrey and Michael Derderian and Great White tour manager Daniel Biechele, who lit the pyrotechnics.
The Station Fire Memorial Foundation has been working for years to build a permanent memorial on the land but the land is owned by a private company, and efforts by the foundation to get the owner to donate or sell the land have gone nowhere.
Victoria Eagan, a survivor of the fire and vice president of the memorial foundation, said the owner of the land has not responded to dozens of letters, phone calls and petitions. The foundation has raised more than $100,000 and received commitments from labor unions, designers and architects to donate their services to build a memorial, but work can’t move forward until they secure the land.