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Paul Lonardo ’98

Remembering the Station

When Paul Lonardo came to URI, he intended to pursue physical therapy. However, he excelled in his English classes and began writing a novel. Two years after his graduation, that book, The Apostate, was published, cementing his decision to pursue writing as a career.

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Today Lonardo is working with director David Bettencourt ’97 to pen a screenplay for The Station, an upcoming Internet web series and documentary film on the devastating 2003 fire at the Station Nightclub in West Warwick that claimed 100 lives.

“February 20, 2013, is the tenth anniversary of the fire,” says Paul. “It will be the launch date of the first episode in a continuing weekly web series. Each week, we will post a new ‘webisode’ online that will showcase some aspect of the Station fire, whether it is an individual story of a survivor, a first responder, a family member of a victim, or a segment involving different people with a common theme.”

These webisodes will pave the way for the full-length documentary film, due to be released later in 2013. For more information, visit the project’s website at thestationmovie.com

The film project is not Lonardo’s first time confronting the tragedy of the Station fire. Previously, he co-wrote From the Ashes (published in 2010) with fire survivor Gina Russo. Although it was an emotional book to write, Lonardo is pleased that it will prevent the story from disappearing. “Keeping the memories alive of all the victims of the Station fire and ensuring that the lessons learned from that tragedy are not forgotten has always been important to Gina. This allows her to do it on a larger scale.”

Lonardo also recently completed a biography, Life, with Cancer: the Lauren Terrazzano Story, focusing on a journalist for Newsday who wrote the weekly column “Life, with Cancer,” before her death from lung cancer in 2007.

More of Lonardo’s work can be seen on his website paullonardo.com.

—Bethany Vaccaro ’06

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