Rhode Island Nightclub Fire Survivor On Brink After Disaster

Richard C. Lewis of the Associated Press reports that "Michelle Spence, burned and left debilitated in a Rhode Island nightclub fire that killed 100 people, finally felt good enough to see the rock band POISON recently.

"Her 10-year-old daughter, Hailey, however, was hysterical. She was terrified that her mother would get hurt again. Maybe she'd die in a blaze like the one last February that burned The Station nightclub to the ground, the daughter thought.

"So, every five to 10 minutes, Hailey called her 29-year-old mother and left a message on her cell phone. 'Mommy, give me a call,' Hailey said. 'I want to make sure you're OK.'

"Spence shakes her head at how her daughter has changed. When she goes out, Hailey calls. And cries. And begs for her mommy to return, where it's safe, and there won't be any fires.

" 'She was never like that before,' Spence says. 'Never.'

"Six months after The Station fire, Spence, her daughter, and the entire family are on the edge. Money is tight. Outside support is little, and temporary.

"The five family members — including Spence's two sisters and their mother — share a two-bedroom apartment in Lincoln rented by Spence's sister, Tammy St. Hilaire. She's the only one who works.

"The mother, Wanda St. Hilaire, tries to care for them all. The 49-year-old went back to work in April, but the job didn't last.

"She was waiting tables at a restaurant where Tammy works and Spence did, too, before the fire. But Wanda was forgetful. She'd start crying. She was unable to cope with questions from customers, even the well-intentioned ones. She left after one month.

" 'I try to stay strong for a while,' she says, 'but ... the reality's starting to hit me now, and you feel as if you're falling apart. You try to cope with it, but then you don't know how to.' " Read more.


Posted in: News


To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).