Romania marks on Monday night two years since a fire disaster in Bucharest that killed dozens of people and sparked a wave of protests against corruption, toppled a government and led to massive press investigations into major political and administrative irregularities affecting the national health system.
On the night of October 30th, 2015, a fire broke out at the Bucharest club Colectiv, where rock band Goodbye to Gravity held a concert to release a new album. The fire was caused by burning fireworks during the concert and quickly expanded and included the ceiling of the club in just a few seconds. The disaster caused the death of 65 people: 27 on the night of the tragedy, the others later, many of whom were killed by hospital infections. 162 injured were hospitalized in the night of the fire.
During the night of 30th to 31st October 2015, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MAI) announced that 27 people have died and 162 people have been hospitalized following the fire. The injured were transported to several hospitals across Bucharest.
Of the injured people, 34 were eventually transferred to medical clinics in Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom, Norway, Israel and Switzerland. In the next two months, the number of deceased people has reached 63, and on 14th of March 2016 the number of deceased persons has reached 64. Among the victims who lost their lives after the fire were members of the band Goodbye to Gravity - bassist Alex Pascu, drummer Bogdan Lavinius Enache, guitarists Vlad Telea and Mihai Alexandru.
An investigation was triggered after which the three owners of the collective club, Alin George Anastasescu, Paul Gancea and Costin Mincu, were sent to court on April 28th, 2016, under charges related tot heir failure to take legal measures of safety and security at work.
Daniela Nita, the owner of SC Golden Ideas Fireworks Artists SRL, Cristian Nita (director) and Viorel Zaharia (pyrotechnist) were sent to court in the same criminal case. The legal entities SC Colectiv Club SRL and SC Golden Ideas Fireworks Artists SRL have also been handed over to justice.
On November 3rd, 2015, following the tragedy in the Collective Club, several thousand protesters in Bucharest and several other hundreds in cities across the country demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Victor Ponta, Deputy Prime Minister Gabriel Oprea and of Mayor of sector 4 Cristian Popescu-Piedone.
The Ponta government resigned on November 4th, 2015.
Also on 4th of November 2015 the Mayor of Sector 4, Cristian Popescu Piedone, announced his resignation.
Five months after the tragedy, victims announced on March 28th, 2016, the establishment of the "GTG 3010 Collective Association" to fight for the rights of all those affected by the terrible tragedy, the wounded and the families of missing people. The Association has seven founding members and is headed by Eugen Iancu.
The tragedy caused a long series of press investigations into massive irregularities and abuse in Romanian hospitals as well as into the way Romanian authorities under the Ponta government handled the situation of the injured people. The Ponta government was replaced by a technocratic government which led Romania until Ponta's Social Democratic Party (PSD), now with new rulers, returned to power in general elections marred by massive apathy a year ago.
Despite several indictments, no major sentence for the role of authorities in the events related to Colectiv has been given so far.
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