Station Seminar Called Off

The owners of the Rhode Island nightclub where 100 people were killed during a 2003 fire have canceled plans to speak at a safety seminar over legal concerns.

Brothers Jeffrey and Michael Derderian, who owned The Station nightclub, were apparently invited to speak for free in front of amusement park ride inspectors and industry professionals at the Pennsylvania Amusement Ride Safety Seminar Feb. 24.

However, in the leadup to the conference, the Derderians issued a statement in which they bowed out of the engagement, according to the Providence Journal.

“We have been advised that our participation could possibly delay or affect the pending civil suits that are still in process,” they wrote. “In no way do we want to further complicate or delay the progress of that lengthy process.”

Officials for the Pennsylvania seminar told the paper they contacted the Derderians because events surrounding the Station fire shared similarities with a fire in a haunted house attraction in the 1980s.

The Derderians pleaded no contest in 2006 to 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter for the blaze, which began when Great White launched pyrotechnics in the club, igniting foam on the walls and ceiling. Jeffrey Derderian never served time for the charges and Michael Derderian was released after less than three years.

While several companies that were sued after the fire agreed to pay a $176 million legal settlement in November, money has reportedly not been distributed to survivors and victims’ relatives thus far.

In other Station news, a warehouse that houses more than 700 artifacts collected during investigations of the fire will likely be vacated and the items disposed of after the settlement is distributed, according to lawyers for the case.