WEST WARWICK, R.I. – Friends and family members of missing nightclub patrons traveled from hospital to hospital Friday, desperately looking for their loved ones as the death toll climbed to at least 85 people.
Patricia Belanger stood trembling outside Rhode Island Hospital, clutching a photo of her daughter, Dina DeMaio, who was working at The Station as a waitress to earn some extra money for herself and her 7-year-old son.
Belanger last saw DeMaio about 9:30 p.m. Thursday when she left for the club. She learned her daughter was missing when she heard about the fire on the morning news shows.
"I saw the pictures and I said 'Oh my God, I hope she got out,"' she said.
Belanger went to the club and found her daughter's car still there, and has called all the hospitals in an unsuccessful attempt to find her daughter.
Belanger said she has not been able to tell her grandson about his mother's possible death. "He knows his mother didn't come back."
Doug and Barbara Magness began searching for their son and daughter-in-law late Thursday. Steven Mancini, 39, and his wife, Andrea Mancini, 28, both worked at the nightclub, checking patrons' identification.
The Magnesses were at Kent County Hospital in Warwick most of the night. They then went to Rhode Island Hospital.
"It's very trying not to know where they are," Barbara Magness said.
Though a relative may have seen Steven Mancini covered in a blanket standing in a crowd in footage from the fire, "it's very agonizing because we have no clue," Barbara Magness said.
Meanwhile, about 200 people gathered at a family center set up at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Warwick by the Red Cross. Grief counselors and clergy members were on hand.
One father got some good news at the hotel: He went there for information about his missing daughter and learned she was safe.
"Her father was here and we were able to tell him she was fine, `Go call your wife,' and everybody cheered," said Nick Logothets, director of disaster services for the local Red Cross.
Penny Lyons, 42, went to the center looking for information on a friend of her husband's she has known for 18 years.
"I'm just so upset and nervous," she said. "It's just a really bad tragedy."