WEST WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) – Survivors and family members who vowed to never forget the 2003 Station nightclub fire will soon have a permanent memorial to remember the 100 people killed in the blaze, according to organizers for the Station Fire Memorial Foundation.
The group unveiled its plans for the Cowesett Avenue property to hundreds of people during a 10th anniversary memorial Sunday. Business man Raymond Villanova donated the land.
"As each year has passed, we have done all that we could as we waited for the day where a permanent and lasting memorial would replace the weather temporary one we have worked so hard to maintain," said Jessica Garvey, whose sister died in the fire.
The memorial will feature a 30-foot gate at the entrance with an Aeolian harp that will create sounds in the wind. Individual monuments dedicated to each of the 100 victims will be placed along a walkway paved by bricks that can be purchased to support the construction costs of the park.
At the center of the club's original parking lot, families will be allowed to bury mementos from the temporary memorial the area will be covered with a stone plaque.
The group hopes to begin construction later this year.
"Our dream will be a reality," Garvet said. "Today we take the first steps toward that reality,"
The fire started when pyrotechnics launched by Great White band manager Dan Biechele pyrotechnics ignited flammable soundproof foam in the nightclub. Biechele and the club's owners, Jeffrey and Michael Derderian, pleaded no contest to 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter. Biechele and Michael Derderian each served time in prison.
Thomas Viall, who was among three lead designers for the memorial, said he never doubted that the memorial would be built.
"Until a few months ago, we were never really sure of the answer of when," Viall said. "But our answer to if has always been ‘absolutely.'"