Survivors Of Rhode Island Club Fire Awaiting Settlement Cash

By Newsferatu, Writer
Thursday, February 12, 2009 @ 8:59 AM

- advertisement -
- advertisement -
From the Associated Press:

Linda Fisher's medical expenses have grown to a half-million dollars in the six years since a fire tore through a Rhode Island nightclub, killing 100 concertgoers and injuring more than 200.

The other costs of the fire aren't as easily calculated: Strangers still gawk at the web of scars up and down her arms. Her reconstructed hands make it hard to grip a soda bottle or shuffle a deck of cards. She has fierce itching pangs that even now can make her cry.

As the six-year anniversary approaches next week, Fisher and more than 300 other survivors and relatives of those killed are waiting for their shares of a $176 million settlement intended to help cover mounting medical bills, with the largest payouts going to those most severely injured.

"There are people who have lost hair, their hands, ears, noses, fingers, arms, their jobs, their homes," said Fisher, 39, who spent three weeks in a drug-induced coma and suffered second- and third-degree burns on one third of her body.

"Anyone who was in that building that night, for what they went through, they deserve a million dollars each," she added. "The worst injured? There's not enough money to give him."

The settlements resolve lawsuits arising from the Feb. 20, 2003, blaze at The Station nightclub in West Warwick, which began when pyrotechnics used as a stage prop by the 1980s rock band Great White ignited foam used as soundproofing around the stage.

The band's tour manager, Daniel Biechele, served less than two years of a four-year prison sentence; the club's two owners pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter charges — one will be released on parole this year while the other was spared jail time.

Dozens of companies and people who were sued after the fire, from club owners Jeffrey and Michael Derderian and members of the band to Anheuser-Busch and Clear Channel Broadcasting, agreed to settle over the last year and a half rather than risk the costs and uncertainty of a jury trial.

Lawyers won't disclose how much individual clients will receive but say payments will range from about $20,000 to several million dollars. The victims can either collect their money in lump sums or installments.

Fisher said her lawyer has told her she'll be eligible for about $1 million, but expects a large chunk of that to go toward attorneys fees and repaying the state for medical care. She intends to use her share for a down payment on a new house with her fiance and for a Labor Day weekend wedding celebration.

Fisher said there's no fair way to compensate the survivors for the severity or permanency of their injuries. And while she's relieved that lawsuits over the fire ended without a trial, she doesn't consider the total settlement sum at all eye-popping since it'll be divided among so many people.

"It's not winning the Powerball," said Fisher, who lost her job as an assistant toy store manager after the fire and now works part-time at a candle shop and collects a monthly Social Security check. "We're not going to buy new cars, we're not all going to buy mansions."

Gina Gauvin, a single mother of three who lost her right hand and all the fingers on her left one down to the knuckle, said she plans to use her share to buy a new house for her family. Her injuries have left her permanently disabled, and she's been struggling to make ends meet.

"I'll just be happy once I receive my settlement, to be able to not have to worry about asking for help from anybody and being self-supportive," Gauvin said.

As they have done every year since the fire, scores of survivors and victims' relatives plan to gather at the fire site Sunday for an annual memorial service. It is decorated with crosses, photographs and other mementos, but a permanent memorial with a park, courtyard, garden and 100-string Aeolian harp is planned for the lot.

There are still a few legal hurdles before victims of the blaze will get their settlements.

The money is being distributed according to an intricate formula devised by a Duke University law professor, Francis McGovern, who has met with the survivors and relatives of those killed. The formula, which is awaiting a judge's approval, awards points based on a victim's age, education and income, and bases survivors' totals on their medical expenses — which range from zero to over $3 million.

Rhode Island Gov. Don Carcieri has proposed delaying paying the state's portion of the settlement — $10 million — until the next fiscal year because of an ongoing fiscal crisis. The cash-strapped town of West Warwick has asked for help to pay its own $10 million portion.

The entire process irked Diane Mattera, who said she felt like her late daughter, Tammy, 29, was reduced to an arbitrary mathematical calculus.

"I've always said from Day One, the money doesn't mean anything to us," Mattera said. "Her life meant more than points."

Please log in to view RANTS

If you don't have a username, click here to create an account!




 Recent News
Represent! Get Your KNAC.COM Bumper Sticker
Happenings This Week on KNAC.COM
QUEENSRYCHE Drop "Dark Reverie" Lyric Video
Vocalist JANET GARDNER Says Goodbye To VIXEN
BEAST IN BLACK Unveil New Single "Die By The Blade"
WHITECHAPEL To Co-Headline "Chaos & Carnage" US Tour
AT THE GATES Unleash "The Mirror Black" Video
DELAIN Release "Masters Of Destiny" Video
CHILDREN OF BODOM Announce 2019 Hexed North American Tour
GODSMACK Launch "When Legends Rise" Video
DOWNFALL OF GAIA Debut "We Pursue The Serpent Of Time" Video
DREAM THEATER Stream New Track "Fall Into The Light"
"Nedal" Band OKILLY DOKILLY is Back! Kicking Off "Reneducation Tour" On February 1
ROCKLAHOMA Announces Its 2019 Band Lineup
SEBASTIEN Are Back Behind The World With New EP
THE THREE TREMORS Announce First-Ever US Tour
BURNING RAIN Reveals Forthcoming Fourth Album, Face The Music
Inaugural PSYCHO SMOKEOUT Announced: Psycho Entertainment Partners With RidingEasy Records For A Day-Long Celebration Of Reefer And Riffs
TYR Reveals Details For New Album, Hel
GARY HOEY Returns With Neon Highway Blues
JINJER Premiere Video For Track "Perennial"
THE END machine, Featuring GEORGE LYNCH, JEFF PILSON, MICK BROWN, & ROBERT MASON, To Release Debut Album
VARNA Release Lyric Video For "The Craving"
HALL OF HEAVY METAL HISTORY Announces Final Inductees List For 2019 Metal Hall of Fame Gala
PERIPHERY Join DANCE GAVIN DANCE For 15 Date North American Trek
BEHEMOTH Unleash "Ecclesia Diabolica Catholica" Video
STATEMENT Reveal New Album, Force Of Life
SEPTEMBER MOURNING Launch "Glass Animals" Video
BLOODBOUND Announce 2019 European Headlining Trek, "Tour Of The Dragon Empire"
PROPHETS OF ADDICTION Release "Babylon Boulevard" Video
HIGH ON FIRE Cancels 'Electric Messiah Tour 2019' Due To Medical Emergency
MIKE TRAMP Is Set To Stray From The Flock In March
SWALLOW THE SUN Streams First Single "Upon The Water"
CRYSTAL LAKE Debuts "Lost In Forever" Video
HATEVIRUS Reveal New Album Hateful Mind
STEEL ENGRAVED Unleash "Where Shadows Remain" Video
BLACKLIST 9 Announce New Album Mentally Ill, Legally Sane
JOHN 5 AND THE CREATURES Release "Zoinks!" Video
LORDS OF SALEM Drop EP Hell Over Salem
GRANNY 4 BARREL Launches PledgeMusic Campaign For New EP
SOILWORK Release Brand New Song "Stålfågel"; Animated Music Video Available
KILLCODE Drop Final Video For "Show Me" In Their 'Trilogy' Series
SNAKEYES Returns To Studio, Releases RAINBOW Cover "Kill The King"
DIMEBASH 2019 Details Revealed
THE BROWNING Reveal 2019 Tour Plans
IGNITE Release "Nothing Can Stop Me" Video
BUCKCHERRY Announce Leg One Of Warpaint Tour
BATTLE BEAST Unveil New Studio Album No More Hollywood Endings
YOB Announce Spring 2019 Tour With VOIVOD & AMENRA
CANDLEMASS Release New Track 'The Omega Circle'
DIRTY MACHINE Unleash "Against The World" Video
GWAR Announces End Of Year Shows
MALEVOLENT CREATION Unveil The 13th Beast Album
KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, PARKWAY DRIVE Announce Co-Headline "Collapse The World" Tour
DUST BOLT Streams New Track "Bloody Rain"
MEGADETH Announce Iconic Album Reissues For The World Needs A Hero & The System Has Failed
NIGHTRAGE Releases New Video For "By Darkness Drawn"
CANE HILL Drop "Acid Rain" Video
OVERKILL Unveil New Single "Last Man Standing"
LEGION OF THE DAMNED Unleash New Video For "Slaves Of The Southern Cross"
HORROR PAIN GORE DEATH Launches Free 2018 Label Sampler
CURRENTS Debut "Forever Marked" Video
THE RAVEN AGE Announce New Album Conspiracy
MOB RULES Releases New Single And Video For "My Sobriety Mind (For Those Who Left)"
GHOST SHIP OCTAVIUS Release "Edge of Time" Video
WHITECHAPEL Launches New Single, "Black Bear"
RELAPSE RECORDS Launches Free 2018 Label Sampler
RIVERS OF NIHIL Announces USA Headlining Tour
DELAIN Announce Hunter's Moon< Release
To Join RAZOR, EXCITER As Headliners Of HELL'S HEROES Fest
TETRARCH Announce 'Twisted Dreams' Tour Dates
PRETTY MAIDS Set To Release A Blast From The Past 12CD Box Set


©2019 KNAC.COM. All Rights Reserved.    Link to us    Advertise with us    Privacy policy
 Latest News