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Club Fire Aftermath - 2003-02-27


For, the smallest state in the United States, Rhode Island, a horrific tragedy has people looking for someone to blame. In the wake of the fire at a nightclub which killed 97 people last week, an extraordinary amount of blame and responsibility are being passed around. Brian Purchia has more on the latest developments.

MUSIC AT MEMORIAL

A small town in the northeastern U.S. State of Rhode Island is grieving 97 people who were killed in a horrific nightclub fire last week.

MOURNER
“We have suffered a great tragedy.”

Nearby, at what's left of the club, investigators are sifting through the wreckage for clues. This was not the first time fireworks have been used in this club, legally or otherwise.

Many musicians say fireworks, or pyrotechnics, were used at this club all the time. Musician Shawn Fox has the video to prove it.

MUSICIAN SHAWN FOX
“We just played there in August. We used pyrotechnics. I've used them a million times there. It's just, it's been done. We were never told, 'you guys gotta have permits'."

However, anyone operating fireworks in Rhode Island is required by law to have a license. It's not clear who operated the fireworks that night, or if the band or club had the required license.

Rhode Island's Governor Donald Carcieri says he'll get to the bottom of it.

RHODE ISLAND'S GOVERNOR DONALD CARCIERI
“We have to take a whole new look at how we're overseeing this, how we're regulating it, how we're inspecting."

The club's owners, aside from an emotional claim this weekend that no permission for fireworks was given to the band, are not talking. Rhode Island's Attorney General Patrick Lynch.

PATRICK LYNCH, ATTORNEY GENERAL, RHODE ISLAND
"In my estimation both Michael Derderian and Jeffrey could answer questions that we're all here looking for."

The club owners and the band are blaming each other. The Attorney General is not saying if he'll bring charges. While this small town is struggling to cope with their loss.

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