Death Toll Rises to 39 in Romanian Nightclub Fire
Seven more people succumbed to burn-related injuries on Saturday (Nov. 7), just over a week after a fire broke out in a Bucharest nightclub, authorities said, bringing the death toll in the tragedy to 39.
Many in Romania have blamed lax government safety standards for the deadly blaze. Prime Minister Victor Ponta and his Cabinet resigned Wednesday after mass protests.
Adrian Stanculea, spokesman for the state burns hospital, said three men died at that facility on Saturday, while the manager at University Hospital, Catalin Cirstoiu, said a man there died of his injuries.
Raed Arafat, an emergency situations official, said two patients who had been sent to the Netherlands for specialized burns treatment had died, including a 20-year-old Italian woman. Eight patients were transported by military plane to the Netherlands for treatment, he said.
Interim Prime Minister Sorin Campeanu said a patient at the Floreasca emergency hospital in Bucharest also succumbed to his injuries.
Campeanu said earlier that 109 other people still remain hospitalized, 48 of them in serious or critical condition, from the Oct. 30 blaze that erupted at the Colectiv basement nightclub during a heavy metal concert. Panicked people fled for the sole exit in a stampede, leaving 180 injured.
Late Friday, several thousand protesters gathered in Bucharest 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, setting off an inferno.
"We want a decent standard of life, not a criminal state!" read one banner. Another banner carried the hashtag "#corruptionkills."
"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 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 or kneeled in front of a sea of flickering candles paying tribute to the dead. Church bells rang out for several minutes to commemorate the dead.