September 3, 2008
Rock Band Offers $1 Million To Settle Nightclub Fire Suits
By Randy McMullen
Members of the 1980s rock band whose pyrotechnics sparked a nightclub fire that killed 100 people have agreed to pay $1 million to survivors and victims' relatives, according to court papers filed Tuesday.
The settlement offer from Great White is the latest stemming from the February 2003 fire at the Station nightclub in West Warwick, R.I. Roughly $175 million has now been offered by dozens of defendants to settle lawsuits over the blaze, which also injured more than 200 people and was the fourth-deadliest nightclub fire in U.S. history.
The band does not admit any wrongdoing as part of the settlement, which requires the approval of the more than 300 people suing, among other conditions.
The blaze began when the band's tour manager, Daniel Biechele, shot off streams of pyrotechnics at the start of the concert. Sparks from the pyrotechnics ignited inexpensive packaging foam the club owners had used as soundproofing around the stage. One band member, guitarist Ty Longley, died in the fire.
Although the band members were never charged, Biechele pleaded guilty in 2006 to 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter and was paroled in March after serving less than half of his four-year prison sentence.
Great White's insurer is covering the settlement. The insurer has previously said that $1 million was the maximum amount of the band's insurance policy.
Image Caption: Station Night Club Memorial (former location of the Station Night Club). Taken By Joe Webster - Wikipedia