Death toll from Romanian nightclub fire rises

  • 08/11/2015
Demonstrators during street protest in Bucharest, Romania (Reuters)
Demonstrators during street protest in Bucharest, Romania (Reuters)

The death toll from a horrific nightclub fire in Bucharest that brought down the Romanian government has risen to 41.

Nine more people have died of their injuries this week after the October 30 tragedy at the capital's Colectiv club, when fireworks let off during a rock band's performance triggered a blaze and stampede as panicked revellers tried to get out.

The fire sparked mass anti-government protests, with many viewing compromised safety standards at the club as emblematic of Romania's wider problem with rampant corruption.

Prime Minister Victor Ponta, who had been under pressure for weeks as he goes on trial on corruption charges, quit on Wednesday, saying it was right for top officials to take responsibility for the tragedy.

Seven of those who died this week, all badly burned and suffering from respiratory problems, succumbed to their injuries in hospitals in Bucharest, medical and government sources said.

The two others passed away in the Netherlands, where they had been transported on Friday for treatment.

Six more blaze victims are still being treated in Dutch burn units, and are said to be in a serious condition.

Overall around 100 people remain hospitalised - dozens of them in critical condition, according to the Romanian government.

Initial investigations suggest numerous breaches of the safety rules at the club, including a lack of emergency exits and the fact that flammable materials were used for sound insulation.

The club's three bosses, detained since Tuesday on manslaughter charges, did not have the authorisation to host concerts, let alone pyrotechnic shows.

Ponta's resignation has not stemmed protests by Romanians demanding a "profound change" in the way the country is governed.

On Saturday, some 3000 people again demonstrated in Bucharest, while hundreds protested in the cities of Cluj, Sibiu and Timisoara.

Some 15,000 had spilled into the streets of the capital on Friday.