The owners of the Station club, who already stand to lose millions in lawsuits filed by the families of those who died when the club burned down, have been fined more than $1 million dollars by Rhode Island's labor department.
The state's Department of Labor and Training fined Jeffrey and Michael Derderian for not providing their employees with workers' compensation insurance. The Derderians' lawyer admitted last week that from March 22, 2000 — the date his clients purchased the club — until the February 20 fire that destroyed it and killed 99 people, they did not possess the legally mandated insurance.
The Derderians were fined the maximum amount of $1,000 a day for the 2 years, 11 months they owned the club, for a total of $1.06 million. The labor department also referred the case to Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch for criminal prosecution. Lynch said criminal charges would be considered only as part of the larger case against the Derderians.
Attorneys for the club owners told the Providence Journal they will appeal to the Workers' Compensation Court.
A Station waitress, two bouncers and a ticket taker were among those who died in the blaze, which started when the rock band Great White shot off pyrotechnics that ignited soundproofing material (see "At Least 96 Dead At Rock Show Fire"). Surviving employees have estimated that 13 people were working the night of the fire, the Journal reported.
Had the Derderians possessed the required insurance, the families of the dead workers would have been eligible for $15,000 each to cover burial and other expenses as well as a percentage of lost wages. Those injured in the fire could have also received financial compensation.
Look out for your own safety, and check out "How To Keep Yourself Safe If There's A Crowd Crush Or Fire At A Club."