On this day: February 20

POSTED: 04:12 PM PST Feb 19, 2013    UPDATED: 11:00 PM PST Feb 19, 2014 

The Post Office is born, World War II gets its first flying ace, John Glenn becomes the first American to orbit the Earth, and a fire at a Great White concert leaves 100 dead, all on this day.

OTD February 20 - The Station nightclub fire
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Jim Bourg/Reuters

2003: During a concert by the hard rock band Great White at The Station nightclub in West Warwick, R.I., a pyrotechnics display sets the club ablaze, killing 100 and injuring more than 200 others. The fire, the fourth deadliest nightclub fire in American history, was caused by pyrotechnics set off by the band's tour manager, Daniel Biechele, which ignited flammable sound insulation foam in the walls and ceilings surrounding the stage. In 2006, Biechele pled guilty to 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 15 years in prison, with 11 years suspended. The nightclub's owners, Michael and Jeffrey Derderian, would plead no contest to charges, with Michael Derderian receiving the same sentence as Biechele and Jeffrey Derderian receiving a 10-year suspended sentence and 500 hours of community service.

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