LATEST: American rockers Great White will escape criminal charges in the ongoing case surrounding a fire at one of their US gigs in February (03).

Those investigating the tragedy say singer JACK RUSSELL was not responsible for setting up the blaze, which turned THE STATION nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island, into an inferno, killing 100 people.

Instead, as the criminal investigation nears the halfway point, it looks like the club's owners and Great White's road manager are going to be blamed for the fire.

The fire erupted when Great White's pyrotechnics display ignited the venue's flammable soundproofing.

The grand jury criminal proceedings are secret, but defense attorneys in the case have indicated that club owners JEFFREY and MICHAEL DERDERIAN (corr) and Great White's road manager DANIEL BEICHELE (corr) are likely to be indicted for involuntary manslaughter when the investigation wraps up in October (03), according to the BOSTON GLOBE.

Defence lawyers told the Globe that the Derderians and Biechele will probably be found guilty of involuntary manslaughter because their actions exhibited "reckless or wanton" conduct.

Biechele's alleged criminal misconduct involves shooting off pyrotechnic devices without securing necessary permits from the state fire marshal and the West Warwick Fire Department.

21/08/2003 02:19