Thursday 27 April 2017

Romanian nightclub owners questioned after fire kills 30

A woman cries as her partner comforts her outside the Colectiv nightclub, during a mourning march joined by thousands in Bucharest (AP)
A woman cries as her partner comforts her outside the Colectiv nightclub, during a mourning march joined by thousands in Bucharest (AP)

Three nightclub owners are suspected of manslaughter and involuntary bodily harm over a fire that killed 30 and injured 180, Romanian prosecutors said.

The three owners of the Colectiv nightclub were questioned by prosecutors in connection with the fire that engulfed the club on Friday night, causing a stampede to a single exit door of the basement venue.

Victims died from inhaling noxious gases, preliminary forensic tests show.

Some 90 people are still in hospital in serious or critical condition, many with complex burns.

Officials say the death toll is likely to rise.

Witnesses say the blaze erupted after a spark on stage from a heavy-metal pyrotechnics show ignited foam decor.

Many have criticised the single exit door and the flammable soundproof foam used in the Bucharest club.

Three Romanian nightclubs have apologised to patrons for putting their lives at risk, and one will close permanently while the others will be upgraded, following the deadly blaze.

The owner of Expirat, Andrei Sosa, said he is closing the club for good. He said his Bucharest venue has only one exit door. "I apologise and I take responsibility. From 2003 I have put the lives of thousands in danger. Weekend after weekend and sometimes during the week."

Rockstadt, the biggest venue for rock music in the central city of Brasov, said it will close for 10 days to replace foam similar to that which caught alight in the Colectiv club, install sprinklers and bring the club up to European standards.

In Iasi, north-eastern Romania, La Baza club apologised for not meeting minimum safety requirements. "We consider we have been ignorant and irresponsible. We were lucky. We don't want to put anyone's life in danger," it said.

Press Association

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