Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos visited the Bucharest Burns Treatment Hospital on Wednesday morning, meeting some of the victims of the Colectiv nightclub fire. 11 of the 39 victims of the Colectiv fire still hospitalized in Bucharest are at the Bucharest Burns Treatment Hospital. 10 of them are still in a critical condition.
“I saw some of the victims of the Colectiv nightclub fire. They are starting to recover both physically and mentally, because they have been through a profound trauma. Apart from this, I have talked with the Health Minister, who is preparing a specific program for burn victims for the coming year, in order to react appropriately in such situations,” Ciolos stated.
At the start of the Government meeting on Wednesday, Premier Dacian Ciolos asked the sacking of the management of the Emergency Situations Inspectorate (ISU) Bucharest.
“I understand the leadership of ISU Bucharest has been suspended, I want them sacked. I want to make sure they are not able to return within the system,” Dacian Ciolos pointed out.
He asked Secretary of State with the Ministry of Interior Raed Arafat to draft a plan of reforms for the restructuring of ISU, “especially on the prevention side, which has shortcomings.”
“I want to make sure that the management of ISU Bucharest is sacked and that they will never be able to come back again. It’s a shame that because of such behaviours we undermine the credibility of an institution that is on the frontlines of public service. Officers have certain procedure-related rules. I want to make sure that none of the persons that held management positions at ISU Bucharest will ever again have a chance to be within the system,” Dacian Ciolos stated.
“The situation at ISU Bucharest shows that there are systemic issues, not just a fluke. There are issues that need to be corrected and I am happy that, in our governing programme, without having all these elements, we introduced the goal of reforming ISU.I am awaiting from Raed Arafat, as soon as possible, a plan on the reform and restructuring of ISU, especially in the field of prevention, where massive issues exist. What I discovered today – and Raed Arafat told me he found out last night – is that the members of ISU Bucharest had actually been notified about the issues at the Colectiv nightclub but, instead of going on the field, they created more paperwork – they told those people what they should do instead of going there and checking.I am almost convinced that this is not a singular situation; therefore, I would like to see as soon as possible a plan of action for the restructuring of ISU. I want to make sure that the management of ISU Bucharest is sacked and that they will never be able to come back again. Officers have certain procedure-related rules. I want to make sure that none of the persons that held management positions at ISU Bucharest will ever again have a chance to be within the system,” Dacian Ciolos stated during the Government meeting.
Ciolos pointed out that a decision on “the reimbursement of the costs incurred with the transportation [of the injured] abroad, both within and without the European Union,” will be taken.
“Today we adopt an Emergency Government Ordinance that would allow us to reimburse the costs of the transport of the victims and their relatives abroad,” the Premier stated during the Government meeting.
Moreover, Ciolos pointed out that Romanian hospitals lack equipment and investments have to be made in this domain, with the use of European funds.
“I am open to jointly analyzing with the European Funds Minister and to create investment lines for hospital, to the extent in which the minister prepares projects and we are able to start them faster. We have funds that we will lose and we need investments. We need coherent involvement in order to have the projects [ready] on time,” Dacian Ciolos added.
Minister Petre Toba notifies DNA
Interior Affairs Minister Petre Toba told the Prime Minister that Secretary of State Raed Arafat was notified on Tuesday that, ever since the end of September, the company organizing events at Colectiv Club had notified the General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations (IGSU) and the management of ISU Bucharest that a large public event would be organized at the club.
“When I obtained this information I asked the Secretary of State for all data to be urgently forwarded to the National Anticorruption Directorate in order to be used in the criminal case, and the entire leadership of ISU Bucharest-Ilfov has been suspended until the situation is clarified. Later today we will appoint the interim leadership of that institution,” Toba stated.
He also told the Premier that “a systemic check” has started within ISU Bucharest-Ilfov in order to see what measures have to be taken there, including in what concerns “transparency when it comes to sponsorships.” The Minister pointed out that all sponsorship data will be posted on the institution’s website for transparency.
ISU leadership dismissed
The leadership of ISU Bucharest was suspended on Wednesday morning after it was discovered that fire fighters knew about the existence of the Colectiv nightclub, Raed Arafat announced.
An internal investigation at ISU Bucharest was ordered on the night of Tuesday to Wednesday.
The measure was taken given the fact that IGSU received on September 23 a fax requesting the presence of a team of fire fighters at the Colectiv nightclub, in view of an event that was to be held there. The disclosure appeared as a result of an investigation published by “Gazeta Sporturilor” daily and on Catalin Tolontan’s blog, tolo.ro.
The members of IGSU forwarded the fax to ISU Bucharest, which had the task to make sure teams of fire fighters would be present at the Colectiv nightclub. ISU Bucharest failed to do that.
On the night of the Colectiv nightclub fire tragedy, Raed Arafat and the fire fighters pretended not to know anything about the existence of the Colectiv nightclub.
Arafat stated for Digi24 that ISU Bucharest employees knew that large public events were about to be organized at the nightclub. Nevertheless, immediately after the tragedy, whose death toll now stands at 60, the fire fighters stated that they were not even aware of the fact that the venue existed.
“Documents show that at least some ISU Bucharest employees knew about it. They saw documents concerning the Colectiv nightclub. The request filed clearly spells out the name Colectiv and the Pionierul platform,” Arafat pointed out.
Two ISU Bucharest employees investigated by the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) in this case were placed under arrest in early November. They had conducted several verifications at the nightclub. Anticorruption prosecutors believe that the inspectors discovered deficiencies at the nightclub but they only signalled them to their superiors and did not take measures to address the problems discovered.
Raed Arafat, reacting to sacking of ISU management: I received false information
“The answers I gave on certain matters referred to other aspects. Obviously, I was shocked. I feel terrible for having received false information from ISU. At least certain persons knew about Colectiv. The nightclub had not submitted the paperwork for authorisation. It is a fact that these activities had been announced since September 23. We may very well find other notifications that concerts were being held there and adequate support was requested.
Somebody knew, and this is why the entire management of ISU Bucharest was sacked. I was misinformed, which does not mean that I attempted to hide something. We are interested to know how such an event can occur with 2,000 persons in the audience, even if it was announced late. I do not hide things. All documents have been forwarded to the DNA this morning at eight o’clock,” Raed Arafat, Interior Ministry Secretary of State, stated after the announcement regarding the sacking of ISU Bucharest-Ilfov’s management as a result of the investigation into the documents that prove that fire fighters had known all along about the existence of Colectiv nightclub and its issues.
39 persons still hospitalized
39 persons injured in the Colectiv nightclub fire are still hospitalized. Thus, 11 are hospitalized at the Burns Treatment Hospital, 9 at the Bagdasar Arseni Hospital, 5 at the Grigore Alexandrescu Hospital, 3 at the Elias Hospital, 4 at the Central Military Hospital, 3 at the Bucharest Emergency Hospital, 2 at the University Hospital, 1 at the Dimitrie Gerota Hospital and 1 at the C.C. Iliescu Hospital.
“42 persons that received medical care in Romanian hospitals have been discharged. 39 persons have been transferred to hospitals abroad,” the Health Ministry informs.
According to the data, 4 persons have been transferred to Austria, one of whom died and 3 are in a stable condition; 8 persons to Belgium, all in stable condition and 5 of them registering improvements; 8 persons to the Netherlands, 2 of whom have died and the other 6 are in stable condition; 1 person was transferred to France but died.
Likewise, 5 persons were transferred to Germany, 2 of whom left for Germany on their own (including a German citizen). Two of the persons transferred to Germany died. 9 persons were transferred to the United Kingdom, 3 of whom died and 6 are in a stable condition; 1 to Norway, 3 to Israel, one of whom died and two are in a stable condition.