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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

fire in club at Bucharest kills 32 ~ PM Victor Ponta resigns after protests !

Fires are devastating – they can destroy property, take out lives and have political ramifications too !

Bucharest  is the capital and largest city, as well as the cultural, industrial, and financial centre of Romania. It lies on the banks of the Dâmbovița River, less than 70 km (43.5 mi) north of the Danube River.  Romania is a unitary semi-presidential republic located in Southeastern Europe, bordering the Black Sea, Hungary, Serbia, and Moldova. The Carpathian Mountains cross Romania from the north to the southwest.   The new state, officially named Romania since 1866, gained independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1877. During World War II, Romania was an ally of Nazi Germany against the Soviet Union, fighting side by side with the Wehrmacht until 1944, then it joined the Allied powers after being occupied by the Red Army forces. After the 1989 Revolution, Romania began a transition back towards democracy and a capitalist market economy.

About an hour before midnight the club was engulfed in flames because of a spark set off by pyrotechnics. Some witnesses said there was an explosion, but this was disputed and later dismissed by other sources. Media reported that club-goers initially thought the flames were part of the show and did not immediately react.When the ceiling caught fire, the approximately 300 to 500 people panicked, hell broke loose, as they  rushed to the only working exit door at the venue, creating a stampede.

A fire occurred at the Colectiv nightclub in Bucharest, Romania on October 30, 2015, killing 32 people and wounding 179.The fire, the worst such incident in Romania in the last 20 years, occurred during a free concert performed byheavy metal band Goodbye to Gravity  to celebrate the release of their new album, Mantras of War.The band'spyrotechnics, consisting of sparkler firework candles, ignited the club's flammable polyurethane acoustic foam, and the fire expanded very quickly.  Many of the victims were poisoned with toxins released from the burning foam.

The club's main shareholder &co-founder Alin George Anastasescu; two other associates, Costin Mincu and Paul Cătălin Gancea, were  arrested on November 2 for negligent homicide, negligent bodily harm and negligent destruction.  In the aftermath of the tragic fire, Romania honoured two heroes – both of them had perished in the fire. Photographer Claudiu Petre went back into the club twice, saving a woman before succumbing to his injuries and drummer Adrian Rugina helped victims of the stampede before being overwhelmed by thick smoke.Thousands of people including President AndrzejDuda of Poland who is in Romania for an official visit, left flowers at the basement club Colectiv where the tragedy happened. More than 130 people are still in hospital 90 of them in a critical condition.

The owners of the club  are being held responsible for allowing admittance to too many people in a venue not equipped with sufficient emergency exits.  Today comes the news that Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta has resigned, a day after some 20,000 people took to the streets to protest over a nightclub fire that left 32 people dead. Demonstrators called for Mr Ponta to step down, complaining of government corruption and poor safety supervision. Mr Ponta is already facing trial on corruption charges.In September, he became the first sitting Romanian prime minister to go on trial over allegations of fraud, tax evasion and money laundering.

He has denied the charges, accusing prosecutors of being "totally unprofessional". Concerns that safety was compromised because of corruption, a long-standing issue in Romania, has fuelled public anger. Mr Ponta was one of three people urged by the protesters to resign. They also singled out the mayor of the Bucharest district where the nightclub fire occurred, and the interior minister.The protesters chanted "shame on you" and "assassins", and carried banners reading "corruption kills".

Even before the fire, Ponta had been under pressure from his opponents to resign, but had refused. Romanians had also called for the resignation ofthe interior minister, Gabriel Oprea, and the mayor of the district where the Colectiv nightclub was located. Oprea over the on-duty death of a police motorcyclist on 20 October. He was in a motorcade that was easing a route through Bucharest for Oprea.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

4th Nov. 2015.

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