Station fire survivors want to give back - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

Station fire survivors want to give back

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Tom Conte Tom Conte
SMITHFIELD, R.I. -

"I can't believe it's been 10 years. Seems like yesterday," said Tom Conte, who remembers The Station fire vividly.

Conte and his, wife, Kristen spoke publicly to NBC 10 for the first time.

"The lights went out, and people are pushing to get out, fortunately almost like water flow. We got into the pushing of the people. I was able to hold on to Kristen," Conte said.

While the Contes made it out, they lost those closest to them. Band mate and best friend Steve Mancini, his wife, Andrea, and Keith Mancini, Steve's cousin, who was also in the band, all died in the fire.

For the Contes, it's been a decade of lingering questions.

"Why me? Why was I saved? Why are my friends not here?" Kristen Conte said.

"What would have been going on now if we were still together? It wasn't just the band, the friendship for such a long time," Tom Conte said.

And the Contes, who got married after the fire, also shared something they had never told anyone. Tom proposed to Kristen at the site of The Station fire, near the crosses of their friends who died.

"He was such a good friend of mine. I would want him to be part of it. This was the best way to do that, to have them see," said Tom Conte.

"It was just me and him, and I felt like they were right there with us, like they would have been," Kristen Conte said.

Since then, the Contes have started a production company, providing video, photography and music for weddings.

And now they want to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the fire by giving their services free of charge to a couple who needs it.

"With the 10-year anniversary coming up, we'd like to use it as a dedication to victims and family members, just trying to help people," Tom Conte said.

"It's something we've always wanted to do and now we're at a place we can do this every year," Kristen Conte said.

They want to take something that forever changed their lives in a tragic way and hope to change other lives in a positive way.

"Just tying to help people, give them the day like they imagined it," said Tom Conte.

"This is my life, and I do the because I love it and because I want to give back," Kristen Conte said.

Couples who need help with their upcoming wedding can contact the Contes before Memorial Day and share their story.

The Contes can be reached through their company Conte Sound Productions.

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