R.I. Fire Defendants Want Out

With a civil suit regarding The Station nightclub fire nearing, everyone wants out, from members of Great White to the fire marshal who inspected the club to the state of Rhode Island.

One hundred people died in The Station venue in West Warwick, R.I., in 2003 after the tour manager for Great White ignited pyro onstage. The tour manager and club owners pleaded out to charges of involuntary manslaughter, making the upcoming civil suit the first opportunity for 300 survivors, victims and family members to hear testimony from defendants, if it goes to trial.

But three band members – Mark Kendall, Eric Powers and David Filice – are asking to be dismissed, claming in court papers that they had no managerial control of the band and didn’t participate in the decision to light pyro.

"They were at the nightclub that evening for one purpose – to perform music," attorneys wrote in papers filed in U.S. District Court in Providence. "They had no other role in the band’s performance at The Station."

Lead singer Jack Russell did not participate in the motion and an attorney for the band would not comment as to why, but Russell faces different claims than his bandmates. He is accused of managing many aspects of the band’s performances, including its use of pyrotechnics.

Former West Warwick Fire Marshal Denis Larocque has also asked to be excluded from the lawsuit. Larocque is accused of ignoring flammable foam on the walls of The Station during a routine inspection of the club. Larocque – one of dozens of potential defendants – has said he never spotted the foam and state law shields him from liability.

The State of Rhode Island wants out, too, claiming it has no legal responsibility for Larocque’s failure to notice the flammable foam. The state was initially dismissed from the case but a federal judge agreed to reinstate it after plaintiffs revised their complaint to allege Larocque had been acting on behalf of Rhode Island.