Barnes & Noble will host John Baryklick for a talk/presentation and book signing for his new release “Killer Show: The Station Nightclub Fire: America’s Deadliest Rock Concert” Thursday, Oct. 11 at 7 p.m.
On Feb. 20, 2003, the deadliest rock concert in U.S. history took place at The Station in West Warwick. That night, in the few minutes it takes to play a hard-rock standard, the fate of many of the unsuspecting nightclub patrons was determined with awful certainty. The blaze was ignited when pyrotechnics set off by Great White, a 1980s heavy-metal band, lit flammable polyurethane “egg crate” foam sound insulation on the club’s walls. In less than 10 minutes, 96 people were dead and 200 more were injured, many catastrophically. The final death toll topped out, three months later, at the eerily unlikely round number of 100.
The story of the fire, its causes, and its legal and human aftermath is one of lives put at risk by petty economic decisions, by a band, club owners, promoters, building inspectors and product manufacturers. Any one of those decisions, made differently, might have averted the tragedy. Together, however, they reached a fatal critical mass.
“Killer Show” is the first comprehensive exploration of the chain of events leading up to the fire, the conflagration itself, and the painstaking search for evidence to hold the guilty to account and obtain justice for the victims. Written by John Barylick, who was a lead attorney investigating and prosecuting wrongful-death and personal-injury cases arising from The Station fire, he has practiced law in Rhode Island since 1977.