Station Testimony Released

A petition for the release of secret grand jury testimony regarding The Station nightclub fire is still pending, but documents from a state police interview with West Warwick, R.I., fire inspector Denis Larocque have been released.

Open records requests made by the Rhode Island Attorney General’s office, the Associated Press, the Providence Journal and the Boston Globe prompted the release. The transcript was among more than 3,000 pages of evidence made public November 29th.

In the brief interview with state police a few days after the fire, Larocque was asked if he noticed during a November 2002 inspection whether there was foam around the stage area.

“No, I did not,” he replied, then added that he was focused on an exit door that swung the wrong way and that he had previously listed as violating code. He said he was so surprised to see the door unchanged that “I really didn’t look anywhere.”

Most of the documents shed little light on the circumstances surrounding the blaze, but they do reveal that the wooden building had a history of problems dating back decades, long before its final owners, Michael and Jeffrey Derderian, operated the club.

The Station had been cited for code violations since at least the ’60s and there were complaints of overcrowding, shoddy conditions, rowdiness and loud noise, according to reports from local inspectors.

The state also released documents seized from Michael Derderian’s home, including contracts for bands that played at The Station, including Blue Oyster Cult, Warrant, and Anthrax.

One hundred people died and more than 200 were injured from the 2003 blaze, which began when Great White tour manager Dan Biechele launched pyro onstage, igniting flammable foam on the back wall that was used illegally to dampen sound.

Efforts by local media have focused on releasing information that could shed light on how the foam got on the walls.