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November 28, 2021
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President Iohannis posthumously decorates heroes of Colectiv Club, Claudiu Petre and Adrian Rugina. They died to help others survive

President Klaus Iohannis has posthumouskly awarded a National Order For Merit, in the Knight Rank, to Claudiu Petre and Adrian Rugina, who died in a fire on Friday at Colectiv club in Bucharest City.

According to the Presidential Administration, the order was awarded “in appreciation for the courage, altruism and devotion proved during the tragic event at Colectiv club of Bucharest when trying to save several lives at the cost of the supreme sacrifice.”


They placed others’ lives above their own

In difficult moments, they showed courage and spirit of sacrifice. They placed others’ lives above their own. They are the heroes of Club Colectiv. They are the young people who, after getting out of the club, returned in the middle of the flames to help others escape. Yet, nobody rescued them.
It was a spectacular rock concert. One of the Romanian bands that were popular abroad and less known in Romania. They were launching their new album. These were adequate reasons for a few hundred rock fans to gather in Club Colectiv. One of them was musician Adrian Rugina. He was 38 years old. He has been a member of several bands, such as Bucium. His colleagues were stunned at the news that he had died.

“I have met him in the winter of 2005 when a friend and I decided to be members of the Bucium group and he was the drummer of this band. We have spend the first rehearsal together and it was the start of a wonderful friendship. From the first moment, I felt we had common vibes”, Alexandra Nicolae , Adrian’s friend declared for digi24.ro.

Witnesses told that they have seen Adrian Rugina while he was helping other people exit the club. There was only one door and almost 500 people running away from the flames. Some of the people had fallen to the ground, yet Adrian did not only think about himself but he stopped to pick them up and remove them. At one point, the thick toxic smoke made him fall, too.

“He was attending the concert with his wife. I did not manage to arrive there because I was too tired. I did not even know that Adi was there. I saw it on the Internet afterwards. I could not believe that it was precisely him who… I could not explain to myself how he failed to exit the club. Then, I saw that he had returned to help so many people and then I understood what happened and how it happened”, Adrian’s friend further declared, who was deeply affected by the tragedy, just like the rest of his acquaintances.

“He was a really friendly person and I think he had so many ideas. He was one of the few people I have met who had truly practical ideas in any field, from business to management, ideas that can be truly applied”.

Adrian’s case was not singular. Photographer Claudiu Petre did the same. Cristi Dorombach, Claudiu Petre’s friend: “Claudiu tried and managed to rescue other persons who were there in the club, but he did not make it. I was not at the scene, but I know that our friends saw how he was resuscitated and saved by rescuers and then placed in an ambulance and carried away.”

Alin Pandaru, Claudiu’s friend, declared: “Claudiu was inside. I only saw him after he was removed by firefighters who entered wearing gas masks and removed him. The last time I had seen him right before the tragedy occurred. I went to him, greeted him and returned to my place that, fortunately, was closer to the exit.”

Claudiu was passionate about his job. Friends say he was enthusiastic about being there at the launch of the new album of the band Goodbye to Gravity.

“He had even checked in and showed his joy for being there and having the opportunity to make pictures of the band that was just launching their album. It was sort of an exclusive opportunity for him. An exclusive opportunity he paid with his life”, one of his friends declared.

Witnesses say that at least ten young people survived because of these two men. They are not the only ones who lost their lives in helping others survive.

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