Mon., 9:40am: 10 years since R.I. nightclub fire killed Brookfield native
WEST WARWICK, R.I. — Ten years after a deadly nightclub fire, some survivors and relatives of the 100 who died in the blaze remember it with quiet pain.
Huddled together in bitter cold, they brought flowers Sunday and paid their respects at handmade crosses that dot the site of the 2003 fire for each person who died. Some cried and spoke of missing their loved ones and the difficulty of moving past such trauma.
“Its just very tough,” said Walter Castle Jr., 39, a survivor who suffered third-degree burns in his lungs, throat and bronchial tubes.
The anniversary of the blaze is Wednesday. The fire broke out when pyrotechnics for the rock band Great White ignited flammable packing foam that had been installed in the club as soundproofing.
Great White guitarist Ty Longley, formerly of Brookfield, died in the fire.
Castle said he lost many friends and was in counseling until 2009. Recently, as the 10th anniversary approached, he began having terrible nightmares and had to go back into counseling.
“People that weren’t here really don’t understand why we can’t let this stuff go. I was 30 seconds away from dying,” he said.