Singer tied to deadly 2003 Rhode Island fire wants to apologize

Thu Nov 12, 2015 1:04pm EST
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BOSTON (Reuters) - The lead singer of hard rock band Great White wants to apologize to the victims of a fire at a 2003 concert in Rhode Island that killed 100 people, he said in a recent radio interview.

The fire tore through The Station nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island, after sparks from the band's pyrotechnics show ignited the small wooden building's highly flammable foam sound insulation.

In an interview with Portland, Oregon's 105.9 "The Brew" radio," Russell said he was working on a documentary film that would include an apology to the victims of the fire. Some 200 people were injured, in addition to the 100 who died.

"It's really hard, you know but it's going to give me a chance to apologize and say how I feel about it. I never had the chance to say I was sorry," Russell said in the interview, which aired last week. "How do I feel about it? Just horrified. I feel a guilt, a sadness, survivors' guilt, you know? Why did I get to live and so many other people didn't?"

In 2009, hundreds of survivors and victims' relatives reached a $176 million settlement with more than 50 defendants in cases filed as a result of the fire. The band's tour manager and two men who owned the nightclub pleaded guilty to 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter.

Russell said he had been advised by his attorney at the time of the fire not to apologize as that would imply that he was guilty of wrongdoing.

"I'll never be over it, really, and I don't think I ever should," Russell said. "I think I owe it to my fans who lost their lives to never forget them."

(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Christian Plumb)

A man who declined to give his name visits the site of the deadly
February 21 fire at "The Station" night club in West Warwick, Rhode
Island February 24, 2003. REUTERS/Brian Snyder