The Station Nightclub Tragedy, On This Date in My Photo History.

I knew something was wrong when I awoke from my sleep the morning of February 20, 2003. When I flipped on the television every network news channel was broadcasting the same crude photos and videos showing some type of escape from a burning building. I was stunned to find out the early fatality stats on this fire. First it was nine dead, then 12 dead. It would eventually reach a staggering number of 100 people who went to the West Warwick, R.I. nightclub that night never to return. I was dispatched to the scene by the Boston Herald photo desk morning editor Arthur Pollock. Staffers Matt Stone and Robert Eng had already been there in the very early morning hours and done yeoman’s work. I remember standing next to WCVB cameraman Curtis Bailey as we trained our lenses on the first responders trying to locate victims. I looked at him after about 20 minutes of seeing body bag after body bag coming out of the burned out shell of a building and in disbelief said: “Curtis, this has to be more fatalities than the 20 that (the authorities) had stated.” He said: “Mark, it’s up to 30 according (his) reporter.” I also remember feeling sympathy for not only the victims and the victims’ families, but also for the brave first responders who were seeing “battlefield” type numbers in that hell hole. here are three of the many photos I snapped that morning.

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