Dental Records, DNA Needed to Identify Victims

At least 80 of the 96 victims killed in last week's nightclub fire were so badly burned, the state Medical Examiner's office will have to use dental records or DNA to identify them, officials said Saturday.

Only 15 victims of the blaze that engulfed The Station nightclub in West Warwick late Thursday had been identified by Saturday evening.

Families of the missing were asked to fill out forms, describing their loved ones in detail, down to their tattoos and scars. Officials said most of the victims were so burned, they likely couldn't be recognized by sight.

Gov. Don Carcieri said the process of identifying the bodies could take several days, even with five teams of examiners at work.

"If we can get all of the dental records ... we have all of the resources in place to start matching these up very quickly," he said.

DNA testing would also be an option, and could be conducted on tissue and blood.