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Three indicted in nightclub fire

The charred remains of the The Station nightclub
The charred remains of the The Station nightclub

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  • Capacity: 300
  • Four working fire exits
  • Fire sprinklers were not required
  • Passed annual fire inspection

    Source: West Warwick Fire Chief Charles Hall
    Nightclub fires
    Rhode Island

    WEST WARWICK, Rhode Island (CNN) -- A grand jury indicted three people Tuesday on charges of involuntary manslaughter in the Rhode Island nightclub fire that killed 100 people in February.

    Indicted on 200 counts each of involuntary manslaughter -- two for each death -- were brothers Jeffrey and Michael Derderian, owners of The Station, and Dan Biechele, tour manager for the band Great White who lit the pyrotechnic display that started the February 20 blaze.

    Fire quickly consumed the crowded nightclub after the pyrotechnics went off during Great White's first performance, igniting foam insulation that had been used as soundproofing.

    Band members have insisted they had permission from the club's owners to set off the fireworks. The owners have said no permission was given.

    The Derderians and Biechele pleaded not guilty at their arraignment Tuesday afternoon. A judge set bail at $50,000 for each defendant and scheduled a pretrial hearing for February 9.

    Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch said the criminal negligence manslaughter charges against the Derderian brothers concern their action or inaction over the years they owned the club in not maintaining a safe building.

    Specifically, their club included acoustical materials that weren't fireproof, Lynch said.

    The criminal negligence charges against Biechele relate to his arranging for the pyrotechnics to be included in the show.

    Each of the 200 counts could carry up to 30 years in prison, Lynch said.

    The mother of one man killed in the fire told reporters she wanted the building and fire inspectors to be charged since they inspected the club before the fire and issued occupancy permits.

    "It was an accident just waiting to happen and it did," she said.

    Great White was a retooled 1980s heavy metal group known for the hit "Once Bitten, Twice Shy."

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