Romania in National Mourning After 27 Die in Nightclub Fire

  • About 150 people injured in blaze during concert in Bucharest
  • Prosecutors start investigation to determine what caused fire

Romania declared three days of national mourning after a fire in a Bucharest nightclub killed at least 27 people and injured dozens more during a rock concert.

Another 150 people were wounded in the Friday night blaze and were being treated at several hospitals in Bucharest, according to a statement from Romania’s interior ministry. Most of the victims were 16 to 30 years old, Antena3 TV station reported. 

People light candles outside the nightclub Colectiv

Photographer: Daniel Mihailescu/AFP/Getty Images

Prime Minister Victor Ponta asked on Saturday for the authorities to verify that all clubs in the country comply with safety standards, after President Klaus Iohannis earlier said the establishment in question didn’t respect the rules or have clearance from firefighters to hold the event. Prosecutors also started an investigation to determine what caused the fire.

“I am outraged that such a tragedy happened right in the center of Bucharest,” Iohannis said Saturday, after visiting some of the injured people in hospital.

Death Toll

The death toll may rise because of the gravity of the injuries of those hospitalized, Raed Arafat, deputy interior minister, said in a press conference on Saturday. The fire that caused the worst such tragedy in Romania’s recent history started during a pyrotechnical show of a heavy metal band. Most victims have burns and are suffering from smoke inhalation.

One Italian and two Spanish citizens were among the injured, according to a statement from Romania’s Intelligence Agency.

The fire started after flames from the fireworks came into contact with the soundproofing materials on the club’s ceiling, according to an eye witness cited by Realitatea TV. Between 300 and 500 people were in the club with a total surface of about 425 square meters, according to Deputy Prime Minister Gabriel Oprea. The club had only one exit.

In 2009, another similar event killed more than 100 people in the Russian city of Perm after an indoor-fireworks display went wrong, setting light to a decorative brushwood ceiling.

“Many of the people injured are in a critical state,” Arafat said. “The club didn’t have an authorization from firefighters and there were no documents showing that they ever filed for one.”

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