Death toll in Romanian nightclub fire rises to 38

Death toll in tragic nightclub fire in Bucharest has reached 38, former mayor detained

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A fireman carries flowers as he walks between lit candles to commemorate the loss of victims after a fire accident at the Colectivu club in Bucharest

Updated Nov 8, 2015

Six people died on Saturday from injuries sustained in a fire at a nightclub in Romania eight days ago, bringing the number of dead to 38 in a case which has sparked protests and led to the resignation of the government.

Two of the latest victims died in the Netherlands, where they had been transported for specialist treatment.

There were 107 people still in hospital, 48 of them in a serious or critical condition, interim Prime Minister Sorin Cimpeanu told reporters.

The fire broke out last Friday night at a rock concert in the Colectiv nightclub in the capital Bucharest, when fireworks set insulation foam ablaze, triggering a stampede towards the single exit and trapping many of the roughly 400 people inside.

Tens of thousands of people subsequently took to the streets across Romania, angry at a public administration widely seen as corrupt, and the protests continued even after the cabinet resigned.

Consultations over a new Romanian prime minister will resume next week after initial talks with political and civil society leaders yielded no candidate, President Klaus Iohannis said.

On Saturday, anti-corruption prosecutors said they had taken Cristian Popescu Piedone, the mayor of the Bucharest district where Colectiv is located, into custody. He had resigned in the wake of the protests.

They said evidence has shown that Piedone had granted a working permit for the club despite the fact it did not have authorisation from firefighters.

"Given that several ... events took place ... in broadly unsafe public conditions, the lives, health and physical integrity of the audience and staff were permanently put in danger," prosecutors said in a statement.

The club's three owners were taken into custody on Nov. 2. City hall clerks and the owners of the company that installed the fireworks were also being investigated.

The fire has prompted an outpouring of community support, with people donating blood and money, and volunteers taking food and drinks to hospitals for medical staff and victims' families.

Outside the club, people continued to light candles and lay flowers in remembrance.