The Station Fire Memorial Foundation — which was formed in order to procure, construct, and maintain a fitting memorial to those affected by the deadly blaze on February 20, 2003 at The Station in West Warwick, Rhode Island — announced today that it does not wish to be associated with a recent benefit concert being promoted by Jack Russell (pictured below) of GREAT WHITE, the band whose pyrotechnics ignited the fire.
The organization has released the following statement regarding the event:
“On January 16, 2013 it came to our attention that a press release announcing a benefit show in Hermosa, California was being promoted by Jack Russell stating that proceeds would be given to the Station Fire Memorial Foundation. This event was not approved by, nor endorsed by the Station Fire Memorial Foundation. We require all third party fundraisers to be recognized and approved by our organization prior to advertising.
“Upon hearing about this event, contact was made with Mr. Russell‘s management company. The Station Fire Memorial Foundation felt that this event was not something we wished to be associated with. This is due to the resentment and animosity still felt by many of the families and survivors that our very organization represents. We feel that the upset caused by his involvement would outweigh the amount of funds raised at this event. It is our intent as an elected board to put the needs and best interests of those we represent before any monetary gain.
“Mr. Russell‘s manager, Ms. Valerie Ince, responded that she would remove the name of the Station Fire Memorial Foundation from the event and another worthy charity would be chosen. We thanked her, and tried to have all traces of the event taken down from various music news websites before any damage could be done. Instead of graciously adhering to our heartfelt and polite request, Ms. Inc then released an additional statement to the media.
“We stand behind our decision that our organization represents the feelings and the needs of the family members and survivors above the need for the publicity or opportunity of one person.”
GREAT WHITE guitarist Ty Longley was one of the people who perished in The Station blaze, which became the fourth deadliest fire in U.S. history.
In 2008, the band agreed to pay $1 million to survivors and families of the victims of the fire. They then launched a multi-year benefit tour for the Station Family Fund.
The Station Fire Memorial Foundation is a 100% volunteer effort. There are no administrative costs. Every dollar raised by the Station Fire Memorial Foundation will go directly to address the costs of construction and maintenance of the memorial. Construction is estimated to begin spring of 2013.
For more information, visit www.stationfirememorialfoundation.org.