After a deadly fire in Bucharest killed 30 innocent concertgoers, while sending many more to the hospital, thousands participated in a silent march to mourn them.
More than 12,000 marched silently on the streets of Bucharest, Romania to mourn the deaths of 30 people who were killed by a freak accident in a basement club. The fire that broke out during a concert by a heavy metal band has left more than 150 injured, many among them are in critical condition.
The fire broke out on a Friday night at a basement club in the city’s center, when hundreds were attending a free concert of metal band Goodbye to Gravity. During the show, which coincidentally involved a lot of pyrotechnics, something went wrong. The band was celebrating a new album and even though a fire had broken out, the majority of the concertgoers remained engrossed, dismissing the rising fumes and flames as part of the elaborate show.
According to the Wall Street Journal, a wayward spark on the stage managed to ignite some decorations made of polystyrene. When people saw the flames — thinking the fire was part of the planned pyrotechnics — they took photos, many of which appeared to show flames leaping from a pillar which was covered in foam insulation.
As the blaze spread, panic erupted among the crowd, which primarily involved teenagers. Smoke filled the room faster than the fire spread primarily because there wasn’t enough ventilation. The fact the basement club had just one exit for all purposes made matters even worse. The basement club was formed after re-purposing a shoe factory. The cub is known as Colectiv Club and has hosted many concerts in the past.
Many parents who searched for their loved ones, some looking for hours, claimed that there was no sight of safety equipment and the lack of clearly marked exits added to the unsafe conditions. Had the basement club followed safety protocols, none of the concertgoers would have died in the fire that trapped them, they claimed. Many of the victims did not carry any identification on them, making it difficult for officials to alert their next of kin and forced many parents to frantically search for their wards.
Eyewitnesses later informed fire fighters that many suffocated due to smoke inhalation and others were injured due to the stampede. Many barely in their teens, suffered first and second degree burns. Few of the victims being treated had burns affecting 80 percent of their bodies. Burn specialists from Israel and Germany arrived in Bucharest to assist in the treatment and a French team is expected today, confirmed local health officials.
Of the 146 admitted to the hospital, about 35 have been listed as critical. Authorities are concerned that the death toll could rise further. The Bucharest fire had initially claimed 27 lives. However, two victims died overnight and another passed on Sunday, taking the death toll to 30, reported CNN. As the victims started pouring in, health officials said it was like “seeing casualties of a war” being brought in for treatment.
The police have begun an investigation into the fire. The club’s owners were questioned and the club’s future remains uncertain. Many who marched in the streets of Bucharest carried banners that read, “Corruption, greed and indifference kill Romania.” However, they weren’t referring to the club or the fire, but about the abysmally low number of hospitals as compared to churches. The rest of the banners read, “We have 18,000 churches but only 425 hospitals and we sit and watch our brothers dying on the sidewalks.”
The local government has declared three days of mourning for the victims of the Bucharest fire. Following the tragedy, people have been urging concertgoers to avoid bars or nightclubs this weekend.
[Photo by Daniel Mihailescu/Getty Images]