West Warwick, RI (December 12, 2003)–On Tuesday, a Rhode Island grand jury released the first criminal indictments concerning the tragic fire at the Station Nightclub in West Warwick, RI last February. The club caught fire during the first song of a Great White concert, when sound proofing foam around the stage was ignited by pyrotechnics. A total of 100 people were killed in the blaze, including band guitarist Ty Longlely, and an additional 200 people were injured, including the group’s audio engineer, sound manager Bob Rager.
Former Great White tour manager Dan Biechele and club owners Michael and Jeffrey Derderian were each charged with 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter with criminal negligence. Additionally, they were each charged with 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter in violation of a misdemeanor.
Great White attorney Ed McPherson reportedly told Billboard.com, “…we’re pleased that none of the band members were indicted, and from the beginning we didn’t think that would be appropriate.” He added, “We’re also saddened that Dan Biechele was indicted for the small part he played in this horrible tragedy.”
In fact, Biechele appears to be the larger focus of the Grand Jury, as his bail was set at $100,000 while bail for Derderians was set at $50,000. All three pleaded innocent.