The Station Plea and the Responsibility for the Foam that Shouldn’t Have Been There
It appears that much the Derderian brothers legal defense in a Station Fire trial would have focused on who was most responsible for the presence of flammable sound-proof foam in the building. The defense, according to Mark Arsenault et. al. in Sunday’s Projo, was going to argue that the Derderians believed they had installed fireproof foam, but had been defrauded by a foam company that sent a different product than was ordered and actively concealed that fact. Furthermore, according to the defense, the Derderians were never alerted to the problem despite multiple-fire inspections…
“We hung the foam in the nightclub but there are so many extenuating circumstances that we would have brought out,” [Kathleen Hagerty] said. The [Derderian brothers], she said, had ordered “sound foam,” which in any place of public assembly must be fire-retardant.We have no idea how strong that defense would have been. On the one hand, Attorney General Patrick Lynch hasn’t indicted anyone from the foam company, indicating he doesn’t believe that the case against them is strong. On the other hand, the lenient sentence accepted by Judge Darigan could be an indication that he believed that shifting the blame to the foam-company (or to Larocque) would have been effective.
“But instead of getting the sound foam they’d ordered,” said Hagerty, “they got packing foam and were never told that they weren’t getting the sound foam they had ordered.”
Foam is sold with a material data warning safety sheet, Hagerty said, but that information was never given to the Derderians by the salesman from American Foam.
“And we would have presented testimony from employees of American Foam who would have told the jury that they were under orders from the owner not to supply that sheet unless the buyer specifically asked for it,” Hagerty said. “But the manufacturer of the foam had sent a letter to the distributors encouraging them to give the safety sheet to the end-user.”
Hagerty also said that the defense would have presented evidence that [West Warwick Fire Inspector Denis Larocque] had inspected The Station six times after the foam was installed but never cited the Derderians for having flammable foam in their club.
Whatever the answer, when there is such a discrepancy between the prosecution’s and the defense’s version of events, shouldn’t the judge wait to see the case presented at trial before deciding on a sentence?