Deadly Great White Show Oversold By Almost 100 People, Paper Says

317-capacity Station club held at least 412 on night of deadly blaze.

A new study of February's deadly Station club fire that killed 100 people has concluded that at least 412 people were inside the 317-capacity West Warwick, Rhode Island, nightclub.

Reporters for the Providence Journal arrived at the number by contacting 192 survivors to confirm they were at the club the night of the blaze. People who could not be reached had their presence confirmed by other survivors, lawyers, relatives and hospitals. The newspaper added the total number, 312, to the number who died in the blaze (see [article id="1471728"]"Great White Fire Claims 100th Life"[/article]). In February, Rhode Island Gov. Donald Carcieri had estimated there were around 350 people in the nightclub the night it burned down during a Great White concert.

The governor's office had no comment about the findings, and the attorney general's office, which is in charge of the criminal investigation, didn't return calls. However, an attorney responsible for more than 25 lawsuits filed by victims of the fire and families of deceased victims (see [article id="1470362"]"Victims' Families File Suit Over Rhode Island Club Fire Disaster"[/article]) said the findings probably won't factor heavily in the case.

"We knew overcrowding was always an issue," Brian Cunha said. "We knew the defendants [club owners Michael and Jeffrey Derderian] and the town of West Warwick were negligent in any number of ways, the last of which was probably making sure the number of people in the club didn't exceed the number allowed by law. The Derderians have enough charges of negligence. This is just one more."

Charges the Derderians face include using highly flammable foam not meant for soundproofing, allowing the use of pyrotechnics at the club, not obtaining a license for the use of pyrotechnics, and failing to maintain, inspect and manage emergency lighting and exit signs. A Providence federal court judge has put all lawsuits on hold until he establishes who has jurisdiction.

The February 20 blaze occurred after Great White shot off pyro that ignited flammable soundproofing foam at the back of the stage. The fire spread quickly, leveling the club within minutes. Most of the people who died tried to leave via the front exit, which resulted in a stampede and a pileup (see [article id="1470775"]"Surviving Great White Guitarist Describes Deadly Blaze"[/article]).