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Wrongful-Death Suit Filed Over Club Fire

The first of what will likely be many lawsuits was filed yesterday (March 4) in the wake of the West Warwick, R.I., club fire that killed 98 people and injured about twice as many.

The first of what will likely be many lawsuits was filed yesterday (March 4) in the wake of the West Warwick, R.I., club fire that killed 98 people and injured about twice as many, Billboard Bulletin reports.

The wrongful-death suit was filed in Providence (R.I.) Superior Court by relatives of Tina Ayer, 33, of Warwick, R.I., and Donald Roderiques, 46, of Mashpee, Mass. Both were killed in the Feb. 20 fire at the Station during a performance by Great White.

Among those named in the suit are the city of West Warwick, Station owners Michael and Jeffrey Derderian, Great White, Manic Management (the band's management company), manager Paul Woolnough, tour manager Dan Biechele, West Warwick fire inspector Dennis Larocque, and American Foam Corp., the company that sold the club foam for soundproofing.

The suit alleges negligence, product liability, breach of warranties, and violations of state law. Plaintiffs seek a jury trial, compensatory damages, punitive damages, and costs. Woolnough could not be reached for comment.

Meanwhile, Great White guitarist Mark Kendall and bassist David Filice were yesterday seen leaving a National Guard facility in East Greenwich, where a grand jury is investigating the fire. The band's lawyer, Ed McPherson, told the Associated Press that band members are cooperating fully. The members have said they had permission to use the fireworks; the club's owners say permission wasn't sought or given.