Criminal probe after Sighet explosion

The municipality of Sighetu Marmatiei yesterday decided to demolish the building that was severely damaged, this weekend, by two explosions that injured 17, after a team from the State Inspectorate for Construction of Maramures County found out that the blasts affected the resistance structure and decided that it must be destroyed. Anyway, the building had been 75 pc destroyed by the explosions. Yet, demolition was put on hold, as it is challenged by the owner’s brother, who argues that thus important evidence for the investigation would be destroyed.Inside the ill-fated building were located the offices of a public notary and a lawyer, and the underground had been turned into a nightclub, which had been recently renovated and had opened just one week before the tragedy. Located at the intersection of the Corneliu Coposu and Gheorghe Sincai streets, the house was close to the Sighet Memorial and the town hall of Sighetu-Marmatiei. The explosions dug a deep – tens of meters wide – crater into the ground.Meanwhile investigations into the incident are advancing. Prosecutors initiated a criminal probe under the charges of personal injury, involuntary destruction, and other crimes against the laws of health and safety at work. They seized several documents from the offices of the Berg Sistem Gaz company and questioned the employees. The chief of the Criminal Section of the Prosecutor’s Office of the High Court of Cassation and Justice, Marius Foitosa, said yesterday that the offices of the gas company have been sealed, to prevent documents from disappearing. Preliminary findings hint to the fact that the gas concentration was extremely high in the disaster area, and the gas supply was turned off only after the second explosion. However, even if it had been turned off right after the first detonation, the second blast could not have been avoided. There was a big crack in the welding of the main pipe, prosecutor Foitosa said. Yesterday, experts found and fixed a second crack in the same pipe that caused the two explosions.In a different move, the Romanian Energy Regulatory Authority (ANRE) will verify whether Berg Sistem Gaz, which supplies natural gas to the town of Sighetu-Marmatiei, has conducted the mandatory periodic checks of the gas grid it operates. “ANRE will start its verifications only after the Prosecutor’s Office and the Inspectorate for Emergency Situations will conclude their probes,” sources with the institution said yesterday, quoted by Mediafax.

A first reaction of the gas company came yesterday from one of its officials, Costin Berevoianu, who is also counsellor to the General Mayor of Bucharest, Sorin Oprescu. He told a local newspaper that the gas pipe had been damaged by the very low temperatures of this winter.Berg Sistem Gaz was licensed by ANRE as gas provider in 2006. According to, it is a small company, headquartered in an apartment, on the Carol Boulevard of Bucharest. It is 99.68 pc controlled by Anumersus Co. Ltd., and offshore registered in Limassol, Cyprus, which does not pay taxes to the Romanian state, since October 2011. Its manager is Costin Berevoianu, Oprescu’s counsellor. The same source unveiled that, in 2010, Berg Sistem Gaz declared losses of EUR 800.000 to the Ministry of Finance. The Sighet Municipality yesterday exonerated itself from any connections with the respective company, announcing that it has nothing to do with the contract with SC Berg Sistem Gaz, which was awarded in 2003, through an auction organised by the Ministry of Industry.



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