Looking Back: 10 Years After “the Station” Nightclub Fire, West Warwick, Rhode Island

  • Richard A. Gould


This 2003 disaster was an early test for forensic archaeology. The fire led to 100 deaths, over 200 serious injuries due to burns, 3 criminal indictments, and 46 civil suits (later consolidated into 27) – the largest number in the history of the state arising from a single case. The criminal sentences are completed, and the last civil suits were settled in late 2012. This is the first time it is possible to discuss specific archaeological evidence openly and consider the impact of forensic archaeology in this case. This paper explores some of the theoretical as well as practical implications of “the Station” nightclub case. One lesson learned from this experience was that archaeology is most effective in the initial phase of the court proceedings, when testimony is first presented and lawyers on both sides can review the physical evidence in detail. Examples of this evidence and how it was handled are presented in this paper.


Fire scene The Station nightclub Humanitarian Recovery 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard A. Gould
    • 1
  1. 1.Brown UniversityProvidenceUSA

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