PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – Jeff Derderian, co-owner of The Station nightclub where a fast-moving fire killed 100 people and injured scores of others, resigned from his position as a reporter at WPRI television, according to a statement released Monday.

Derderian’s resignation was effective immediately, the statement said.

An official at WPRI-TV referred all questions to a public relations firm. Steve Maurano, a spokesman with Duffy & Shanley Inc., would not release details on the resignation, saying the television station does not discuss personnel matters. Maurano would not say whether the decision to resign was Derderian’s or the television station’s.

Derderian’s attorney did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

Derderian, 36, was a longtime reporter in Rhode Island and worked at WHDH-TV in Boston, an NBC affiliate, from September 1997 until this January.

He became a reporter at WPRI, a CBS affiliate in East Providence, on Feb. 17, three days before a fire ripped through the West Warwick nightclub he co-owned with his brother, Michael.

Jeff Derderian has been getting paid, but has not worked since the blaze, which started when a band’s pyrotechnics set fire to foam that had been placed around the stage as soundproofing.

Derderian was at The Station nightclub on the night of the fire.

“It was very difficult to express what I experienced at the club that evening, trying to get people out safely,” an emotional Derderian said during a news conference two days after the fire. “Please know I tried as hard as I could. Many people didn’t make it out and that is a horror that will haunt my family and I for the rest of our lives.”

He and his brother insist they did not know the band Great White planned to use pyrotechnics during its concert. Members of the band claim otherwise.

A grand jury is investigating to determine whether criminal charges are warranted.

The Derderians bought The Station nightclub in March 2000, and purchased a type of packaging foam to use as soundproofing in late June 2000, after police had warned them of neighbors’ complaints about noise.

A cameraman for WPRI also was at the nightclub that night, collecting video footage for a story on safety in public places. Photographer Brian Butler captured pictures of the pyrotechnic display and the flames that spread throughout the club.

WPRI has said The Station nightclub was not the subject of the report and there was no plan to publicize or promote the club.

The television station had confirmed that Derderian was the reporter assigned to the story.


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