Memorial Held For The Station Nightclub Fire Victims In Rhode Island
Michael Springer  /  Getty Images
Mitsue Colafrancesco cries Thursday while looking at a makeshift memorial for a family friend at the site of The Station nightclub in West Warwick, R.I.
updated 2/20/2004 11:10:07 AM ET 2004-02-20T16:10:07

Wiping away tears and clutching hands for support, families and friends paid tribute to the 100 people who died in a nightclub fire a year ago.

Bells tolled 100 times for each of the men and women who perished in the Feb. 20, 2003, fire at The Station nightclub. Photographs of the dead sat on a stage at the front of the banquet hall. Some 200 people were injured.

“You have to move on, but it still seems like it was just yesterday,” said Tammy Croteau, 36, of Waltham, Mass., whose brother-in-law, Robert, died in the fire.

Family and friends also were expected to gather at another memorial service Friday night in West Warwick, where The Station nightclub stood. Clergy members were expected to lead the ceremony and names of the dead were to be read aloud.

Video: Chicago stampede tragedy revisited At the ceremony Thursday, brightly colored butterflies made by schoolchildren hung in rows above the families and survivors. The butterflies symbolized hope and transformation, themes emphasized in the prayers and poems read before the somber crowd.

“One year ago, Rhode Island was forever changed by The Station fire tragedy. That cold February night brought us all great sorrow and heartache,” said Gov. Don Carcieri. “A wave of sadness and disbelief washed over us all. It is a day that will always remain with us.”

A butterfly garden is planned at Roger Williams Park Zoo for fire victims, survivors, families and emergency rescue workers who responded to the blaze, the governor said.

Since the tragedy, state lawmakers passed stringent fire-safety measures that included tougher sprinkler requirements for nightclubs, and a ban on pyrotechnics in small venues.

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