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The Boston Globe


Feb. 22, 2003

Death toll reaches 96 in fire at R.I. nightclub; 187 hurt

Criminal probe opens; search of ruins continues

WEST WARWICK, R.I. - A rock band’s explosive light show ignited a lightning-quick blaze, a curtain of blinding smoke, and a panicked stampede to escape a hellish inferno that killed at least 96 people in one of the deadliest nightclub fires in US history.

Scores of Great White fans trying to save themselves Thursday night were trapped in doorways, squeezed so tightly that few could slip out as the fire, fueled by the acoustic insulation behind the stage, consumed the crowded building.

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