Owners Arrested After Deadly Bucharest Club Fire
Romanian police have arrested the owners of a Bucharest nightclub where a fire left 31 people dead and nearly 200 injured, charging the three men with suspicion of manslaughter.
The Guardian names Costin Mincu, Alin George Anastasescu and Paul Gancea as the targets of the investigation, and quotes prosecutors who accuse the trio of deadly negligence in the blaze.
"Data and evidence ... have shown the fire occurred because the people managing the respective space encouraged and allowed a number of people above the club’s limit in a space that was not endowed with more emergency exits," reads the quote, which further adds that the club owners allowed "a fireworks show in the indoor venue that was improper as it ... contained easily flammable materials illegally installed to avoid additional costs."
As previously reported, the fire erupted Oct. 30 at the Colectiv nightclub, where Romanian metal band Goodbye to Gravity was hosting a release party for their new album Masters of War. The group's two guitarists are reportedly among the casualties, with the other members of the band still in the hospital.
According to reports, the fire started when sparks from a pyrotechnics display struck polystyrene that had been placed around a pillar in the club, and by the time those in attendance realized how serious it was, there was no time to put it out — or safely usher everyone out of the one exit.
While investigators attempt to get to the bottom of this tragedy and doctors work to save those whose lives still hang in the balance, the case has prompted comment from Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, who wrote, "I am shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic event that occurred tonight in downtown. It is a very sad moment for all of us, for our nation and for me personally. At this painful time, I express my full compassion and solidarity with the families of those affected by this tragedy."
The Guardian reports that Iohannis has awarded the country's national merit order to two of the victims, Adrian Rugina and Claudiu Petre, who died while saving others, and adds that another of Bucharest's most popular clubs, Expirat, has already closed in the wake of the fire, with the owner explaining, "“Starting today, I can no longer risk lives."
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