Has Rhode Island responded adequately to the Station fire?

With the 10th anniversary of the Station nightclub fire approaching, the Phoenix invited four Rhode Islanders who have written books about the tragedy to participate in a roundtable discussion.

And on a chilly Monday night, they all came to our offices: Gina Russo, a Station survivor who wrote From the Ashes: Surviving the Station Nightclub Fire, A personal story of tragedy and Triumph, her co-author Paul Lonardo, Marilyn Bellemore, who wrote about the Station pre-fire in The Night the Music Ended, and John Barylick, a lawyer who represented Station victims and wrote the definitive account, Killer Show: The Station Nightclub Fire, America's Deadliest Rock Concert.

The authors' recollections of the club, of that night, and of what went wrong are at the heart of the discussion, available on-line later this afternoon and in print tomorrow. But they also make a somewhat startling claim: that, in the wake of the fire, Massachusetts has been more attentive to safety in clubs and other performance venues than Rhode Island.

This is just the perspective of a few observers, of course. But they are well-informed observers. And with the 10th anniversary of the fire just days away - and the state wrestling with the tragedy's legacy - their claims are probably worth examining.



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