Here’s a look at nightclub fires worldwide including the 2003 fire at The Station nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island, that killed 100 people and injured 200.
A list of nightclub fires worldwide
This list includes nightclub fires with victims of 50 or more (the list is not exhaustive).
April 23, 1940 – Natchez, Mississippi – More than 200 people die in a fire at the Rhythm nightclub. Boarded up windows, flammable decorations and overcrowding play a factor in the high number of deaths.
November 28, 1942 – Boston – 492 people die in a fire at the Cocoanut Grove nightclub after a lit match sets an artificial palm tree on fire. This is the deadliest nightclub fire in United States history, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
November 1, 1970 – Saint-Laurent-du-Pont, France – 146 people are killed in the Club Cinq-Sept (Club 5-7) when emergency exits are blocked and a discarded match starts a fire.
May 28, 1977 – Southgate, Kentucky – 165 are killed and another 70 injured in a fire at the Beverly Hills Supper Club.
March 25, 1990 – Bronx, New York – Eighty-seven people die in a fire caused by arson at the Happy Land social club. Intent on murdering his ex-girlfriend, Julio Gonzalez pours gasoline on the stairs trapping the victims. His ex-girlfriend survives.
March 19, 1996 – Quezon City, Philippines – More than 150 people die in a fire at the Ozone Disco Pub nightclub.
December 25, 2000 – Luoyang, China – 309 people die after a fire breaks out at a Christmas party in a dancing hall in central China.
February 20, 2003 – West Warwick, Rhode Island – 100 people are killed when the nightclub The Station goes up in flames at the start of a concert by the 1980s heavy metal band Great White. The band used a pyrotechnic display as they began playing.
December 30, 2004 – Buenos Aires – A fire at the República Cromañón nightclub in Argentina kills 194 people after a fan ignites the club’s ceiling with fireworks. The club owner is sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2009.
January 1, 2009 – Bangkok, Thailand – A fire at upscale Santika nightclub kills at least 64 people and later leads to the arrest of the nightclub’s owner.
December 5, 2009 – Perm, Russia – Fireworks spark a fire at the Lame Horse nightclub, killing 156. The commercial director of the nightclub, who police say ignored safety measures, is later arrested in September 2010.
January 27, 2013 – Santa Maria, Brazil – More than 240 people die in a fire at Kiss nightclub in southern Brazil. Authorities say at least 2,000 people were in the club at the time of the fire, double its maximum capacity. Many of the people died of smoke inhalation and others were trampled in the rush for the exits. The two owners of Kiss, a member of the band Gurizada Fandangueira and a promoter, are arrested the next day.
October 30, 2015 – Bucharest, Romania – Sixty-three people die – 27 in the fire and others in the days and months that follow – and more than 150 others are injured when a spark from a pyrotechnic display causes a fire during a heavy metal concert in the nightclub Colectiv, in the city’s center.
The Station Fire timeline
February 20, 2003 – A concert by the 1980s heavy metal band Great White uses a pyrotechnic display. Sparks from the display ignite highly flammable soundproofing foam tiles behind the stage and the fire quickly spreads. The Station has no sprinkler system and is over its maximum capacity of 300 people. The fire engulfs the wooden structure in less than three minutes killing 100 people and injuring 200 more.
December 9, 2003 – A grand jury indicts Jeffrey and Michael Derderian, owners of the club, and Great White tour manager Dan Biechele, the man who lit the pyrotechnic display that ignited the blaze, on 200 counts of involuntary manslaughter each. Each enters not guilty pleas during arraignment.
January 31, 2006 – Daniel Biechele, former manager of the Great White, agrees to plead guilty to 100 counts of misdemeanor manslaughter.
May 10, 2006 – Biechele is sentenced to 15 years in prison, with 11 years suspended, to be followed by three years of probation.
September 20, 2006 – Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch announces that Michael and Jeffrey Derderian will enter no-contest pleas to 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter each. Under the deal, Michael Derderian will be sentenced to four years in prison and three years on probation, with the rest of a 15-year sentence suspended, Lynch said. Jeffery Derderian won’t go to prison — his 10-year sentence will be suspended, although he faces three years of probation and 500 hours of community service.
September 5, 2007 – A tentative settlement is reached in a lawsuit between relatives of victims of the night club fire and a group of defendants that includes a manufacturer of soundproofing material, a manufacturer of pyrotechnics, an alarm company, and the company that leased the building to the night club owners. An attorney for the families states the settlement is dependent on the court appointment of someone to distribute the settlement money.
September 19, 2007 – The Rhode Island Parole Board announces that Daniel Biechele, former manager of Great White, will be released from Rhode Island state prison in March 2008, after serving less than half of his four-year prison sentence. The Parole Board cites letters of support from victims of the club fire as part of the reason for their decision.
January 16, 2008 – The Rhode Island Parole Board announces that Michael Derderian, the owner of Station Nightclub, will be released in October 2009, one year early from his four-year prison sentence.
March 19, 2008 – Biechele is released from prison, after serving less than half of his four-year sentence.
January 9, 2009 – Court-appointed Special Master Francis McGovern submits a plan to the court on how to divide a proposed $176 million settlement. The money will be divided between 300 plaintiffs. It will also be divided proportionally based on the severity of injuries and suffering, similar to the way the September 11th victims’ compensation fund was apportioned.
June 2009 – Michael Derderian is released from prison, after serving less than three years.
January 7, 2010 – US District Court Judge Ronald Lagueux approves settlements for the more than 300 victims of the fire. $176 million will be distributed, with $59 million going to lawyers.
September 28, 2012 – A lawyer for Ray Villanova, the owner of the site of the nightclub fire, files papers that transfer the land to the Station Fire Memorial Foundation.
May 21, 2017 – Station Fire Memorial Park is opened to honor the victims of the Station nightclub fire.