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Mixed reaction to R.I. club-fire plea deal

PROVIDENCE, R.I., Sept. 23 (UPI) -- A plea agreement for the owners of a Rhode Island nightclub that burned in 2003 has drawn criticism from many relatives of the 100 people who were killed.

Jeffrey and Michael Derderian are scheduled to plead guilty next Friday to lesser charges that will likely result in Michael spending four years in prison and Jeffrey performing community service for their roles in the deadly blaze at The Station, the Providence (R.I.) Journal said.

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Fireworks set off inside the bar during a performance by the band Great White touched off a fast-moving fire and stampede that became one of the worst nightclub infernos in U.S. history.

The Journal reported Saturday that the deal has miffed some of the relatives of the victims because it precludes testimony from the Derderians and from other potential witness such as the fire inspector, whom some say should have found the highly flammable acoustic foam installed at The Station before the tragedy occurred.

Some of the answers could be revealed during the pending civil trials.

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