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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 25 February, 2003, 02:43 GMT
Memorials for US club fire dead
Mourners outside the Station nightclub
Many bodies remain unidentified

Thousands of relatives and friends of the 97 people who died in last week's fire at a US nightclub have gathered to remember the victims.

They packed into a community centre in West Warwick, Rhode Island, while hundreds more attended a service at a nearby church.

Another 80 survivors of the blaze that tore through the Station night club in West Warwick on Thursday remain in hospital, half of whom are in a critical condition.

The fire began when fireworks apparently ignited soundproofing during a concert by 1980s heavy metal band Great White at the club.

At the service at St. Gregory the Great Church, grieving families were asked to hold up pictures of their lost relatives so mourners can "know for a moment those you loved".

"It's true that some good may come from this disaster, but the event itself is only tragic and will never make sense," said the Reverend John E Holt of the Rhode Island Council of Churches.

A criminal investigation has begun into the fire. Great White said they had permission to use the special effects, a claim disputed by the club's owners.

Meanwhile pathologists have been brought in from five states to help identify the dead from the blaze.

Very few bodies have been positively identified so far, and investigators have appealed to relatives of the missing to bring in items such as hair-brushes in the hope of obtaining DNA samples.



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SEE ALSO:
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22 Feb 03 |  Americas


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