The fourth deadliest nightclub fire in U.S. history, a blaze at The Station nightclub in W. Warwick, RI, on February 20, 2003, claimed 100 lives. After the fire, NFPA enacted tough new code provisions for fire sprinklers and crowd management in nightclub-type venues. Those provisions mark sweeping changes to the codes and standards governing safety in assembly occupancies.
Station nightclub fire survivor Robert Feeney.talks about his experience the night of the fire and how it later led to his work as a sprinkler advocate.
Resources on the Station nightclub fire
- "Pilot Demonstration of an Impact Evaluation Protocol: NIST NCST Recommendations Arising from The Station Nightclub Fire", a project of NFPA and the Fire Protection Research Foundation.
- The first reports of a deadly fire in Brazil in January sounded all too familiar: an overcrowded nightclub, pyrotechnics, a raging fire, no sprinklers, too few exits, horrific losses. The fire at the Kiss club in the city of Santa Maria ultimately claimed more than 230 lives and injured hundreds more. Ten years ago, a fire at the Station nightclub in Rhode Island killed 100 people.
NFPA Journal®, March/April 2013
- Ten years after The Station nightclub fire, a survivor returns to the site to remember the fiancée and friends he lost, and recount how he became a champion for fire sprinklers.
NFPA Journal®, January/February 2013
- A bartender working the rear bar at the Station Nightclub the night of February 20, 2003, had an immediate response to a fire spreading from the main stage: she grabbed the cash drawer — something she always did when leaving her post — and led several patrons through the kitchen to an exit.
NFPA Journal®, January/February 2011
- On the fifth anniversary of the E2 crowd crush and The Station nightclub fire, NFPA returns to an important moment in codes and standards history.
NFPA Journal®, March/April 2008
- On March 20, 2003, at an emergency meeting and hearing of NFPA’s Technical Committee on Assembly Occupancies, one NFPA member rose to speak. Al Gray, a fire and life safety official with the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority, had a prepared statement, but instead spoke from the heart about his son Derek, who died at The Station nightclub four weeks earlier on February 20. His words, along with the other speakers, galvanized the meeting.
NFPA Journal®, March/April 2008
- Slideshow: NFPA investigator Robert Duval recounts the scene at The Station nightclub.
- Final NIST report (2005) on The Station nightclub fire.
- February 17, 2003
A massive crowd crush at Chicago's E2 nightclub kills 21 and injures others.
- February 20, 2003
A pyrotechnic display at a Great White concert at The Station in West Warwick, Rhode Island, kills 100 and injures more than 187. The fire ranks as one of deadliest assembly-occupancy fires in U.S. history.
- March 13, 2003
NFPA sponsored a public forum and special meeting of the Technical Committee on Assembly Occupancies in Boston. The meeting was held in response to the Chicago crowd crush incident and the Rhode Island fire. A number of Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs) were proposed to prevent similar tragedies in the future.
- July 9, 2003
At a meeting at NFPA's Quincy headquarters, the NFPA Technical Committee on Assembly Occupancies and Membrane Structuresvoted to support several revised TIAs requiring fire sprinklers for all new nightclub-type facilities and for existing nightclub-type facilities that accommodate more than 100 occupants. The committee sent its final recommendation to the NFPA Standards Council. Read the meeting minutes. (PDF)
- July 28, 2003
The NFPA Standards Council, issued the TIAs, which took effect the following month that strengthened requirements of NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®, and NFPA 5000®, Building Construction and Safety Code®. The new TIAs are among the nation's most stringent. Read the Council´s decision. (PDF)
- January 1, 2004
The 2003 editions of NFPA 1, Uniform Fire Code™, and NFPA 101 became the Rhode Island Fire Code and will become effective on February 20, 2004-the anniversary date of the fire.
- January 30, 2004
NFPA completed, at no expense to the state of Rhode Island, multiple five-day training sessions on NFPA 1 and NFPA 101 for more than 250 Rhode Island fire marshals.
- August 18, 2005
Provisions requiring fire sprinklers in all nursing homes, in new construction of one- and two-family dwellings, and in all new construction of nightclubs and like facilities, as well as for existing nightclubs and like facilities with capacities over 100, now also apply to the 2006 editions of NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code and NFPA 5000®, Building Construction and Safety Code®.