WEST WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Nearly 14 years after a massive fire inside The Station nightclub killed 100 people and injured 200 others on February 20, 2003, a permanent memorial in honor of those who died on that site in West Warwick will be officially dedicated May 21, 2017.
Here’s a look at the long journey organizers took to get the memorial built.
2003 – In the months following the fire, the charred debris left behind is removed and a makeshift memorial begins to mark the site.
July 29, 2003 – The Station Memorial Foundation sends a letter to Triton Realty Co. – owner of the site – seeking to acquire the land for a permanent memorial.
January 7, 2010 – Federal judge approves $176 million in settlements in civil cases stemming from the fire.
May 18, 2010 – Federal judge makes settlements official – ending lawsuits stemming from the fire
Sept 28, 2012 – The company that owned the land announces the fire site has been transferred to the foundation for the construction of a permanent memorial.
Feb 17, 2013 – Just ahead of the 10-year anniversary, the foundation holds a groundbreaking for a permanent memorial and unveils sketches of the project.
Sept 15, 2013 – Makeshift memorial dismantled
Sept 18, 2013 – Work begins at site, crews put fences
Feb 14, 2014 – Station Fire Memorial Foundation hires a fundraiser
July 10, 2014 – Then-Gov. Lincoln Chafee approves a tax-exempt bill for the memorial site.
December 5, 2014 – State agencies give approval for Station Fire Memorial. Organizers say no digging will take place on the site to avoid disrupting any remains that may be at rest there.
June 2015 – Construction on a scaled-down version of the memorial begins
Sept 19, 2015 – Fundraising for the $2 million project reaches the half-way mark
March 24, 2016 – Rhode Island churches help raise money for the memorial
August 2016 – Survivors and family members of those lost are upset that the fire site is a Pokemon Go stop. A few days later, the stop was removed from the game.
Oct 17, 2016 – Station Memorial Foundation reaches it s$2 million fundraising goal. However, it also delays planned dedication until spring.
Nov 29, 2016 – Project is moving along and the foundation says fundraising is still ongoing for the park’s upkeep.
Feb 24, 2017 – Station Memorial Foundation officially sets a dedication date for May 21, 2017.