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90+ Dead at Great White Show

Pyrotechnic sparklers ignite Rhode Island club

February 21, 2003 12:00 AM ET

Ninety-five people are confirmed dead after a fire broke out during a performance by veteran metal band Great White at the Station club in West Warwick, Rhode Island, late Thursday night. Rescue workers were still combing through the one-story venue Friday evening. Great White guitarist Ty Longley is among the missing.

Pyrotechnic sparklers set the blaze by igniting the club's eleven-feet-tall ceiling. The club was engulfed in flames in less than three minutes, giving many of the victims little time to reach one of the club's three exits. The Station did not have a permit for pyrotechnics, and, because its maximum capacity is just 300, the venue was not required to have a sprinkler system. According to Great White singer Jack Russell, the club gave the band permission to use the pyrotechnics.

More than 180 fans were treated for injuries sustained in the fire, and sixty concert-goers are thought to have escaped unharmed.

Russell will speak with Connie Chung on CNN tonight at 8 p.m. A statement on Great White's official Web site reads, "In light of the horrible incident that occurred in West Warwick, RI, our thoughts and prayers go out to everybody that lost their lives or were injured."

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Song Stories

“Whoomp! (There It Is)”

Tag Team | 1993

Cecil Glenn — a.k.a., "D.C." — was a cook at Magic City, a nude dance club in Atlanta, when he first heard women shout "Whoomp — there it is!" Inspired by the party chant, he and partner Steve "Roll'n" Gibson wrote a song around it. Undaunted by label rejections, they borrowed $2,500 from Glenn's parents and pressed 800 singles, which quickly sold out in the Atlanta area. A record deal came soon after. Glenn said the song was meant for positive partying. "If you're going to say 'Whoomp there it is,' and you're doing something negative, we'd rather it not have come out of your mouth."

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