Romania’s Government decreed on Saturday a three-day national mourning, following the death of 27 people in a fire on Friday night, in the ‘Colectiv’ nightclub of Bucharest.
The Government sitting on Saturday began with a moment of silence called by Prime Minister Victor Ponta, who convened his cabinet after the tragic event.
“I am deeply sorry we have to meet in an extraordinary Government sitting because of this tragedy that has taken so many young lives. I want to convey all our solidarity, all the moral support we can provide to the families of victims and to those who suffer,” the premier declared.
The Government heard reports of Vice Prime Minister and Interior Minister Gabriel Oprea, Health Minister Nicolae Banicioiu and State Secretary Raed Arafat of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, head of the Emergency Situations Inspectorate. They presented the relevant authorities’s response to the incident that also sent 184 wounded to Bucharest’s hospitals, who admitted 146 of them, some in very serious conditions.
An Italian, two Spaniards and a German among the injured, PM Ponta expresses solidarity for the foreign citizens injured or killed in the fire
Four foreign citizens – an Italian , two Spaniards and one German – were injured in the fire in the ”Colectiv” nightclub in Bucharest. Three of them have been admitted to the Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) Hospital “Agrippa Ionescu ” and the fourth at University Hospital , Mediafax informs.
Prime Minister Ponta on Saturday expressed messages of solidarity for the foreigners who were injured or lost their lives in the fire of Bucharest nightclub, noting that the Romanian authorities can provide transport to the countries of provenience to the extent that there will be requests in this respect.
“I want to present on behalf of the Government of Romania the same messages of solidarity for the foreigners who were injured or lost their lives. We will identify exactly all victims other than Romanians,” Ponta said at the beginning of the Government meeting.
“We are in contact with authorities from respective countries,” Ponta added.
General Prosecutor’s Office takes over case of Bucharest nightclub fire
Romania’s General Prosecutor’s Office took over from the Bucharest Prosecutors’ Office the case of the Friday night fire that killed 27 people and wounded 184 in a club in the capital city of Romania, General Prosecutor Tiberiu Nitu announced upon visiting the fire site on Saturday.
He mentioned that prosecutors have already began investigating at the ‘Colectiv’ club in downtown Bucharest, and the very complex case involves the collaboration with several institutions – 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), the Mobile Emergency Service for Resuscitation and Extrication SMURD, the National Institute of Forensic Medicine.
Nitu declared that the investigation was for first degree murder and criminal damage.
Everything was carbonised inside the club, but forensic experts can still find evidence, he asserted.
No suspect has been detained so far, and such a decision now would be premature, the General Prosecutor stated.
The General Prosecutor’s Office is actually the prosecutors body of Romania’s High Court of Cassation and Justice (the equivalent of a Supreme Court). Lower courts have their own prosecutors. Nitu’s office explained in a release on Saturday it has relieved the Bucharest Tribunal prosecutors because the circumstances of the fire were complex, the consequences are very serious, the criminal investigation involves many acts and central authorities, and additional logistics are necessary.
Hundreds of Bucharesters donate blood for fire victims
Nearly 600 people donated blood on Saturday morning in a transfusion centre in Bucharest, to help the 146 people admitted in the city’s hospitals after the Friday night fire that also killed 27 people in a nightclub.
The centre’s manager Doina Gosa told Agerpres all her staff was working to process the donations, and 150 donors came overnight.
“It’s a general mobilization, a solidarity I never witnessed before. People came in large numbers, hundreds came today and 150 last night to donate [blood]. We opened the centre at 1.30am and we keep working. We test and process the blood we receive, then send it to hospitals upon requests. Not any volunteer can donate, we are also carrying out screenings,” she said at the Bucharest Transfusion Centre not far from the government offices of Victoriei Square.
“I reported in immediately after hearing the news [of the fire], it seems incredible how people got mobilized, everyone thinking to help,” Gosa said.
She announced that the centre will stay open late on Saturday night and also on Sunday.
On an average day, 200 people volunteer to donate blood at this cenre, and around 150 donations are accepted.
President Iohannis visits Bucharest fire site
President Klaus Iohannis laid flowers and lit a candle on Saturday at the site of the fire that killed 27 people and injured 184 last night.
“May God rest the dead in peace. I want to wish those who survive health, chance and quick recovery. To grieving families, my heartfelt condolences; I am with them in mind and soul. To the families of the wounded in Bucharest hospitals I wish they have hope and faith and see the patients safe,” the President told media at the ‘Colectiv’ club.
He appreciated the facility as inadequate for its leisure purpose. “It’s incredible, a completely inadequate space. (…) It’s unimaginable that space could host so many people at a concert, and that a tragedy has happened so fast, essentially because simple norms were ignored,” Iohannis asserted.
The President also announced that the Government has decreed a national mourning. He also visited one of the hospitals where people injured in the nightclub fire were taken for medical care.
EC President Juncker sends condolences after Bucharest nightclub fire
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker sent his condolences after the fire that killed 27 people and wounded 184 in Bucharest on Friday night.
“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,” reads the President’s message dated October 31 on the European Commission website and forwarded on Saturday by the EC Representation in Romania.
Aftermath of Bucharest nightclub fire
An explosion and fire engulfed the Colectiv nightclub on Friday night, wounding numerous people and killing dozens.
While first reports announced 18 dead, the death toll rose through the night, latest figures showing 27 have died, 184 were transported to hospital for treatment while 146 remain admitted for further treatment.
First reports from witnesses mention that the fire started following a pyrotechnic display during a scheduled concert in the nightclub that set fire to flammable material in the club.
Reactions to the tragedy poured in following the unprecedented tragedy, with Klaus Iohannis expressing his profound sadness over the tragedy and later meeting with Interior Minister Gabriel Oprea and State Secretary Raed Arafat at the Cotroceni Palace to discuss the situation.
Hundreds of people crowded the Bucharest Blood Transfusion Center and the other blood donation centers to donate blood since the early hours of the morning, heeding thus the calls launched by Health Minister Nicolae Banicioiu and others. Among them 40 local policemen from Sector 4, Bucharest, as well as 50 anti-terrorist operatives from the Romanian Intelligence Service. Chairman of the Social Democrat Party (PSD) Liviu Dragnea has also announced that the party he is leading has already started drawing up lists with potential blood donors.
Patriarch Daniel, head of the Romanian Orthodox Church, also joined in calls for blood donation and prayer, requesting of believers to help the grieving families and the families of those in hospitals both in spirit and material.
King Michael I also expressed his grief and compassion for those affected by the fire in the Bucharest nightclub.
At this moment, while over 140 people remain admitted to hospitals, dozens in grave condition, specialists from the National Research-Development Institute for Mining Security and Antiexplosive Protection have arrived to Bucharest to investigate the causes of the fire. The Bucharest General Prosecutor’s office has already announced that an investigation has started. Sources in the judiciary say that prosecutors are investigating the crimes of manslaughter and willful destruction.