Fund created for kids of fire victims

From the Associated Press

The owner of a Warwick, R.I., nightclub that caught fire during a rock concert has announced the creation of an education fund for more than 75 children who lost a parent in the blaze.

The February 2003 fire, which began when pyrotechnics for the rock band Great White ignited flammable soundproofing foam, killed 100 people and injured more than twice that many.

Jeffrey Derderian said the Station Education Fund could cover expenses such as tutoring, books, field trips and athletic equipment. He also is encouraging colleges to waive tuition for the children. He declined to discuss other initiatives that he and his brother Michael are planning to benefit victims’ families, saying it would be premature.

The Derderians had been blamed for the victims’ deaths in the past, as many said the co-owners installed cheap foam that only fueled the flames. Prosecutors had said that the business also skirted safety regulations. The brothers pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter charges stemming from the fire last year.