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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Major American Fires: Station Nightclub Fire

This is a guide to resources at the Illinois Fire Service Institute Library and online that discuss major American fires.

General Resources

Introduction: Station Nightclub Fire

The Station Nightclub was a popular club in West Warwick, Rhode Island. The fire occured the night of February 20, 2003 during a performance of the band Great White; 100 people were killed, and approximately 230 were injured. 462 people were inside the club, exceding its capacity of 404. The fire began when onstage pyrotechnics ignited soundproofing foam at the back of the stage. Within a minute, the stage was engulfed, and the fire quickly spread throughout the wood frame building. The majority of the audience rushed for the main enterence, and they were unable to escape quickly due to the large crowd. Bouncers prevented some people from leaving by a back enterence, insisting it was for the band only. The majority of deaths occuring around the front doors, where the victims were overcome by smoke inhalation. An NIST investigation found that major factors contributing to the severity of the fire were the hazardous mixture of building materials, lack of automatic sprinklers, and inadequate exits. 

Resources at IFSI

These links take you to the IFSI catalog. To request an item, click "Add to Request Bin." This takes you to a page where you can fill out the online request form and submit to the IFSI library. To request items, you must be an Illinois resident with a library card from an Illinois library.

Online Resources


10 years after the fire, survivor Robert Feeney returns to the site with the NFPA and discusses his experience escaping from the fire.

In this documentary by Tyco Fire Protection Products, survivors and family members recall the events of the fire, and Tyco discusses the fire from a technical standpoint and how sprinklers could have limited its severity. The documentary is in seven parts; this is the first.

Ten years after the fire, WPRI, a Providence news channel, gave this special report on the club fire.

IFSI Library Information

Library Hours:

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Monday - Friday

Special operating hours may be held during events.

IFSI Library Website


IFSI Library Staff:

Lian Ruan, Head Librarian:

Diane Richardson, Reference & User Training Librarian:

David Ehrenhart, Archivist and Metadata Librarian:

Libguide created by Elizabeth York