Friday evening was marked by a strong fire in a Bucharest club hosting a music album launch, which has lead to a death toll of 27 and 184 injured, of which 146 remain admitted for further treatment, according to local media reports. Of the 27 dead, 17 remain unidentified to this point, as do five of the more gravely injured, still unconscious people in the hospitals.
First reports from witnesses state that the source of the fire were some fireworks started during the show, which determined flammable material in the club to catch fire.
The government held an emergency meeting on Saturday and instated a three days national mourning, between October 31 and November 2. According to law, this includes public institutions displaying the national flag, national television and radio and other cultural institutions are expected to adapt their program accordingly, while sports, culture or art events set to take place during this time are cancelled.
Reactions to the event started pouring in, with Romania’s President, Klaus Iohannis, stating: “I am shocked and profoundly saddened by the tragic event that has happened tonight in the center of the Capital. It is a very sad moment for us all, for our nation and for me personally. In these painful times, I express my full compassion and solidarity towards the families of those affected by the tragedy. Furthermore, I assure the families affected by this shocking event of the full support of those involved in rescue operations and I ask them to have faith that responsible institutions are putting in all the efforts to suppress the effects of the catastrophe. I call upon you all to be together with the grieving families and show compassion and solidarity“.
“On behalf of the European Commission I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the victims of last night’s tragic accident in a nightclub in Bucharest. I am greatly saddened to see so many young lives ending so tragically. My thoughts are with the grieving families and friends as well as with all those working hard in rescuing and in assisting the victims,” the European Commission president, Jean-Claude Junker, said.
People have started gathering during early hours of the morning at the Bucharest Blood Transfusion Center and the other blood donation centers, which were opened a few hours after the fire, following calls launched by Health Minister Nicolae Banicioiu and others.
In the meantime, investigations were started by the Prosecutor General’s office in collaboration with the National Institute for Research and Development in Mine Safety and Protection to Explosion INSEMEX, the police, the Emergency Situations Inspectorate, the Public Ministry (prosecutors body).
First reports from the sector 4 city hall say that the club operated under affidavit that it met all the necessary conditions for their activity.
“The trader operated in the basis of the affidavit, under which operating conditions specific to each public authority were met. The affidavit was included in the confirmation of the working point document released on 7.10.2014 by the Trade Register,” a statement by the city hall shows.
According to Raed Arafat, head of the department for emergency situations of the ministry of internal affairs, there had been no request for approval from the General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations for the pyrotechnics during the event taking place on Friday evening.
No suspect has been detained so far, and such a decision now would be premature, the General Prosecutor stated.
The Colectiv Club, where the fire took place, is owned by Colectiv Club SRL, for which shareholders are Alin Anastasescu – 47 percent, Paul Catalin Gancea – 30 percent and Costin Mincu – 23 percent. Alin Anastasescu is founder and managing partner at the club, ad producer at Cevadevis.ro advertising agency and project manager at events company Sasquatch Events, according to his Linkedin profile.