Station Nightclub

Rhode Island Commemorates 20th Anniversary of Station Nightclub Fire

The Feb. 20, 2003, fire started when pyrotechnics lit during a concert ignited foam used as soundproofing.

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Gov. Dan McKee marked Monday as a "tragic and difficult day in Rhode Island's history," as the day marks 20 years since a fatal nightclub fire left 100 people dead and injured more than 200 others.

The Station nightclub fire on Feb. 20, 2003, started when pyrotechnics lit during a concert ignited foam used as soundproofing.

"To the family of those who died on that devastating day: Rhode Island will never forget your loved ones and we will always stand by you," McKee said in a written statement. "As we hold those impacted by this tragedy close in our hearts, we also remember the remarkable and courageous actions of first responders, public safety officials, medical professionals, and Rhode Islanders who sprang into action to save lives on that day and who worked to comfort their communities in the days and weeks following."

"That is the true spirit of Rhode Island," the governor added. "I ask all Rhode Islanders to join us in honoring the memories of each and every person lost on that devastating day."

On Sunday, St. Kevin Church in Warwick, RI, held a remembrance mass for the 20th anniversary of the fire in West Warwick.

"May they rest safe in His peace, and may you and I keep our promise to them, to never forget, to never forget until we see them again," Rev. Robert Marciano told the congregation.

The mass began at 10 a.m., with community members gathered to remember their loved ones lost in the fire.

"My fiancé and I were there that night," said survivor Gina Russo. "He didn't make it, I did. So I have to honor them."

Russo said that she felt her death was certain the night of the fire.

"I remember thinking how would I ever live through this? How, how am I going to live?" survivor Gina Russo told NBC affiliate WJAR.

"I try to remember the good things," said Jody King, who lost his brother, Tracy, in the fire. "Tracy was gregarious and out there and loved life. He would love the fact that we were here today."

On the 20th anniversary of the fire, community members felt the mass was necessary to help ease the trauma and grief they still feel from the tragedy.

"I pray for continued healing," Providence Co-adjutor Bishop Richard Henning said. "I pray for all those who continue to put themselves at risk caring for others in our hospitals and first responders, and I hope and pray that we are become evermore a community that that has compassion and solidarity, one for each other."

Russo spoke to the congregation during the mass, and gave her thanks.

"Thank you for the 20 years that you've stuck by us, all of you, the whole community," Russo said. "Thank you for not forgetting our 100 and all the survivors, all the survivors that have lived through this for the last 20 years."

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