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Monday 19 August 2019

Romanian nightclub fire death toll rises to 38

People marked one week since a the fire at the nightclub. (AP)
People marked one week since a the fire at the nightclub. (AP)

Six more people have died a week after a fire broke out in a Bucharest nightclub, bringing the number of deaths in the tragedy to 38.

Two people had died at the state burns hospital, while the manager at University Hospital said a man there also died of his injuries.

Interim Prime Minister Sorin Campeanu said three other victims had succumbed on Saturday, two patients who had been sent to the Netherlands for specialised burn treatments and another patient at the Floreasca emergency hospital in Bucharest.

He said 109 other people still remain in hospital, 48 of them in serious or critical condition, from the October 30 blaze at the Colectiv basement nightclub during a heavy metal concert. Panicked people fled for the sole exit in a stampede, leaving 180 injured.

Thousands of protesters gathered in Bucharest on Friday for the fourth consecutive evening, waving Romanian flags and calling for better governance and an end to corruption.

Protesters came with their children and dogs. Some played drums and sang in memory of the rock band Goodbye to Gravity, which was playing at Colectiv when a spark from a pyrotechnic show ignited foam decor, starting the fire.

"We want a decent standard of life, not a criminal state!" read one banner. Another banner carried the hashtag #corruptionkills.

Many in Romania blamed lax government safety standards for the deadly fire. Prime Minister Victor Ponta and his cabinet resigned on Wednesday after mass protests.

"The political class is inefficient and corrupt. We need a government of technocrats or experts," said protester Cristina Lotrea, a 22-year-old sociology researcher.

Outside the torched Bucharest nightclub late on Friday, hundreds gathered to mark the one week anniversary of the fire.

They stood in near silence. Many sobbed quietly, others hugged each other as they stood, crouched in front of a sea of flickering candles paying tribute to the dead. Church bells rang out for several minutes in commemoration.

PA Media

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