MARILYN: I don't think people — I don't know if they're thinking about it.
JOHN: What changed, more in Massa-chusetts than here, if you go to a show now — uniformly in Massachusetts, there's an announcement before the show: where all your available exits are. And in fact, if there are multiple acts, they'll make the announcement between acts in case people only came for the second or third act on the bill. I'm not sure how consistently that's honored in the smaller venues in Rhode Island. Certainly at PPAC, Trinity — yes.
GINA: Very early on, I started going out after The Station, the local bands would say, "Before we start, pay attention to your exits." But that didn't last.
THE DERDERIAN BROTHERS, WHO OWNED THE CLUB, WOUND UP WITH PLEA BARGAINS IN CRIMINAL COURT. THE CIVIL CASES WERE SETTLED. THERE WERE NO TRIALS. WAS THERE A SATISFYING CONCLUSION TO THIS MATTER? COULD THERE EVEN BE SUCH A THING?
GINA: No. As a survivor, no. Absolutely not. Jeffrey [Derderian], in my estimation, walked. Served community service. My son has to do community service for his high school. A hundred people died on your watch. You were in the building when this fire happened.
Michael [Derderian], OK, you weren't in the building, but you were knowledgeable about things that were happening. They knew about the foam they put up in that building — they knew about it. They definitely weren't held accountable like they should have been.
Inspectors — it's definitely a sore subject in the Station community, who wasn't held accountable and why. The inspectors can't be held accountable because [the law protects public officials acting in "good faith"]. I worked for surgeons at the time of a fire. If I messed up a surgery, I would've been fired. What makes their job any more important than mine? That's how I felt.
JOHN: There's no criminal resolution or civil resolution that can adequately give, to use an unfortunate term, closure, or satisfactorily compensate, or make people whole for broken lives. It just can't be done. Talk to family who have lost someone, talk to [the badly disfigured] Joe Kinan, who is a remarkable soul, continuing as he does in the face of great difficulty. So the law is a very imperfect tool for making people whole and satisfied.
THAT SAID, IS THERE ANY COMPARABLE INCIDENT WHERE THERE WAS A BETTER RESOLUTION?
JOHN: Barnet Welansky, the owner of the Cocoanut Grove [site of the largest nightclub fire in US history], was held criminally liable, even though he wasn't even on the premises that night. [Great White tour manager] Dan Biechele, who physically threw the switch and wired the pyro, was charged criminally, pled, and served a prison sentence. But nothing in Great White happened without the say-so of Jack Russell. Where is he to answer for this? It was a less-than-perfect result.
BEYOND THE TECHNICAL ERRORS, WHAT WERE THE ROOT CAUSES OF THE FIRE? GREED?
GINA: It ruled it.
JOHN: It all comes down to greed.
GINA: Buying the cheap foam. Overselling the club. Everything they did — it just blows my mind that they're supposed to be educated men. I don't mean that they woke up that morning and said, "Let's go ruin hundreds of lives." I don't believe that. The only one I believe is remorseful is Dan Biechele.