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'It was something out of a horror movie'

Harold Panciera:
Harold Panciera: "It was just a horrifying, terrifying experience that I will remember for the rest of my life."

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CNN's Elaine Quijano reports 96 bodies have been recovered after nightclub fire. (February 22)
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  • Andrew Hoban, 22
  • Dale Latulippe, 46
  • Stephen Libera, 21
  • Katherine O'Donnell
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  • Bridget Sanetti, 25
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    Source: The Associated Press

    WEST WARWICK, Rhode Island (CNN) -- A fast-moving fire at a Rhode Island nightclub killed 96 people and injured more than 100 others there to see the rock band Great White. Harold Panciera was among the estimated 300 people who attended the show Thursday night. He described the scene to CNN's Heidi Collins and his escape.

    PANCIERA: I was able to help one individual. When I escaped the fire, I turned around. The building was an inferno, smoke pluming out of every exit. You could not see. All I could hear was the shrieks and screams of people. It was something out of a horror movie. It was -- you can't even imagine.

    I went back, I hollered in one entrance where the smoke was bellowing out. There was an individual that was screaming, in particular, that was semi-close. I had no way of getting access to this man, so I took snow, and I leaned in the doorway, and I was throwing snow in all different directions. I was fortunately able to hit this man with snow, and I was telling him to come to the snow.

    The man was screaming for his life. He was telling me he was on fire, he was burning: "I can't get out, I can't walk." Fortunately enough, the man was able to make it within about 5 feet from the doorway, where I was able to reach in, put this man over my shoulder, and escape the building with him. He was so badly burned, he was almost unrecognizable.

    As I brought him through the parking lot, there were bodies strewn everywhere. It was something that was -- it looked like a horror movie. I didn't know where to put this man down. There were people that were unrecognizable, smoldering in the parking lot, in the road, victims looking for survivors and family members. You could hear screams of people in this entire inferno.

    It was just a horrifying, terrifying experience that I will remember for the rest of my life, and I'm sure that everyone that attended that function will never forget that.

    And I will have to tell you that the fire department and other people that did escape unscathed came and did anything and everything they could to comfort the victims that were so badly burned, and to help the people that were piled up at the entrance of this establishment.

    It was really something that was really unbelievable. People just really cannot fathom the terror and horror that occurred that evening ... at this establishment.

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