Saturday, 31 October 2015

Tragic explosion kills dozens in Bucharest nightclub


I do hope none of my readers had loved ones injured in the terrible fire at the Colectiv nightclub in Bucharest and my heart goes out to everyone whose life is touched by this.

There were 300 to 400 people ere at a free concert given by a group called Goodbye to Gravity in the club on Friday night. 27 are reported dead, hundreds injured and the death toll will probably rise.

A fireworks display around the stage set the club’s ceiling caught fire. When the first sparks flew, the lead singer joked that they weren't part of the heavy metal band's performance. Then there was an explosion and heavy smoke, then a stampede for the door.

Health and safety has always been a joke in many or most restaurants, bars and clubs in Bucharest.

The accidents and emergencies departments of Bucharest's hospitals were overwhelmed. What will happen when the inevitable earthquake comes?

Bogdan Oprita, at the Emergency Hospital in Strada Floreasca, said it was the worst bloodshed since the revolution.

Violeta Maria Naca, an ambulance worker, said in a Facebook post:

There was a child with 70 percent burns. I was crying. The flesh was coming off him. He was asking whether he would live. If it was serious," she wrote. "He was almost in a coma. Blood and tears were coming out of his eyes. He asked me to hold his hand. I told him I had a boy the same age.
Delia Tugui, who was at the concert with her husband and son, said on Facebook:
The lead singer made a quick joke: 'This wasn't part of the program.' The next second, he realised it wasn't a joke and asked for a fire extinguisher. In 30 seconds the fire spread all over the ceiling. People rushed to the entrance but it was too narrow, and people panicked.....Friends were looking for each other under the pile of people. It was a nightmare....I realised that those on the other side of the bar would not get out alive...I was two metres from the door and I barely got out.
Then there was a blast and her hair caught fire.

Here is a witness account in an interview with the BBC.

It might not necessarily be just about a  Romanian club, bar or restaurant ignoring safety regulations, which most do. We shall find out. Several major nightclub fires around the world, so the press says, have been caused by fireworks igniting foam used for soundproofing, including one in the U.S.A. that killed 100 people in Rhode Island in 2003, but why does anyone set off fireworks indoors ever?

This tragedy has shown what a beautiful, emotional place Bucharest is. It's a village where everyone knows everyone and what they are thinking (London in Gladstone and Disraeli's time was like that). I can never make up my mind how a city which has so much sense of community and cohesion (patriotism, shared values, religious faith) has at the same time so very little (widespread corruption, ruthless individualism). This tragedy showed the sense of community as Bucuresteni lined up to give blood, theatres and concert venues were closed and the clubs emptied by common accord.

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