Great White, Club Owners Fined In R.I. Fire

Legal experts say the move could bolster lawsuits filed after the Feb. 20 blaze, which killed 100 people and injured nearly 200 others.

Six months after a deadly nightclub fire during a Great White concert in West Warwick, R.I., the band and the club's owners were fined nearly $100,000 today (Aug. 20) by the federal agency that regulates workplace safety.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined Derco LLC, which operated the Station club, $85,200 for one "willful" violation and six serious ones.

OSHA said the willful violation was the installation of an exit door that swung the wrong way. The others involved the use of highly flammable foam in the club, inadequate safety planning and an exit door that was concealed by foam, the agency said.

Attorneys for club owners Michael and Jeffrey Derderian did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Jack Russell Touring Inc., the corporate entity representing Great White, faces a $7,000 fine for failing to protect employees from fire hazards, OSHA said. The club and band have 15 days to appeal the ruling.

Several lawsuits have been filed against defendants including the band and the Derderians, and a grand jury is weighing whether criminal charges are warranted. Great White has been touring this summer to raise funds for victims and survivors of the fire.

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