Station Prosecutors Rebuke Accusation

State prosecutors in the Rhode Island nightclub fire case have told defendants’ attorneys that they did not deliberately conceal evidence that would allegedly help the accused.

Lawyers for Jeffrey and Michael Derderian, owners of The Station nightclub in West Warwick, R.I., accused prosecutors of concealing evidence from a grand jury that would have supported their clients’ case.

The two brothers, along with the tour manager for Great White, were indicted on manslaughter charges in connection with the February 2003 fire that killed 100 people and injured 200 more.

The Derderians claim they did not know the acoustic foam lining the walls of their club was flammable. The material sped the fire, which began when tour manager Dan Biechele launched pyro onstage.

The brothers claim they believed they purchased non-flammable material from a salesman at the American Foam Corp. rather than foam that did not meet fire code standards.

The salesman, Barry Warner, recently admitted that he sent an anonymous fax to prosecutors saying American Foam did not warn customers about the flammable qualities of the material.

Defense attorneys have cried foul and want a judge to throw out the 200 counts of involuntary manslaughter against each defendant.

But prosecutors responded November 21st, saying they never claimed that Warner or American Foam told the owners the foam was flammable. They also pointed out that American Foam’s president told the grand jury the company did not give customers detailed information about product unless asked.

“It would have been both professionally irresponsible and legally unsound for prosecutors to have introduced the unattributed hearsay and innuendo contained in the fax to the grand jury,” prosecutors wrote.

The criminal trial of the Derderians and Biechele is expected to begin sometime next year.