Rhode Island Nightclub Fire - disaster area?

At the bottom of this article it says the Governor want the area declared a state disaster, to get federal funds. I thought that the disaster area declaration was for areas ruined by disasters that are to be rebuilt, are they asking for funds to rebuild the club? I have heard of areas being declared in floods and other disasters, but why would it be a disaster area since only one building was affected? What else would they use the money for?

I can imagine that the massive and thorough investigation required by the fire will put quite a strain on the resources of such a tiny state. Forensic evidence had to be obtained extremely quickly to ID all of the bodies and all contributing factors to the fire must be expored in depth. The fact that so much money is riding on the inevitable lawsuits means that all aspects of the investigation must be top-notch and sparing any expense at this stage is a false economy later. Some of the states own fire marshals and fire statues are among those being blamed so they must stand up to any scrutiny.

This is a WAG, but often in a big emergency situation, the city has a lot of costs for manpower. Firefighters, EMS, police and investigators, etc. may have racked up a lot of overtime, and the city may be trying to recoup that from the Feds. That seems like a stretch, but I know that FEMA is reimbursing a lot of the local search and recovery crews that were involved in the recent space shuttle disaster in Texas because they had to pull in off-duty crews and run overtime for several days.

Good question, and answers, I was wondering the same thing.