The Station Nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island caught fire on February 20, 2003, and 100 people packed into the nightclub were killed, and more than 200 people were injured. The Station fire was the fourth deadliest nightclub fire in history. This week, Home Depot and a Connecticut insulation company reached a tentative settlement for $5 million in lawsuits brought by survivors of the nightclub fire, according to a lawyer for the families. Home Depot and Polar Industries Inc. have agreed to settle with more than 300 people who sued for the fire at The Station. The fire began when pyrotechnics ignited by a rock band set on fire the flammable soundproofing foam around the stage. Polar Industries, based in Prospect, Conn., made the insulation that the plantiffs charged was dangerous and defective. The material, PolarGuard, was placed in the ceiling of the nightclub apparently for soundproofing purposes. Home Depot’s connection to the lawsuit is that the retailer sold the dangerous material to the nightclub owner. A Home Depot spokesman told the Associated Press that the insulation company’s insurer had agreed to pay the entire $5 million. Home Depot explained that they did not pay one penny of the settlement, and, of course, did not admit to any liability for the fire. “The company is saddened by the tragedy and has been vigilant in cooperating with the authorities in their investigation,” Home Depot said.
Polar Industries admits that their product, PolarGuard, was installed in the nightclub, but notes that the product had safety warnings, and that it was the club’s owners who violated building codes by failing to cover PolarGuard with a proper thermal barrier. Home Depot issued a statement to the media about the settlement, but did not post that statement anywhere among its general press releases on its website. The company was “saddened by the tragedy” it said, but not enough to make any public offer of financial support to the families who suffered through this fire.