Around 27 people have died following a fire at a nightclub in the Romanian capital of Bucharest.
The fire is said to have been sparked by pyrotechnics at the Colectiv Club on October 30 with 180 people reported injured. The club was filled with young music fans, most of whom medical staff estimate were teenagers.
The club was hosting 400 fans at a free album launch show by local metal band Goodbye To Gravity. Lemi Black of the band is quoted by the Telegraph as saying that two foam pillars caught fire, causing the room to fill with smoke.
“They then set fire to wood inside the building, which burned everything really quickly,” he said. “It was made worse by the fact that the only way out was a relatively small door.”
One witness told Reuters that a firework display around the stage caused the fire with the ceiling ablaze. Media reports state that clubgoers initially thought the flames were a part of the live show and failed to react.
Early reports suggest that the club had just one exit, which soon became blocked. “In five seconds the whole ceiling was all on fire. In the next three we rushed to a single door,” a female witness told television station Antena 3.
Another woman blamed organisers for the accident, saying: “People were fainting, they were fainting from the smoke. It was total chaos, people were trampling on each other. It was a tragedy that could have been avoided if there had been more organisation from the emergency services.”
A witness quoted by Romania’s state news agency said people were forced to break the second door down in order to escape.
Medical staff in Bucharest have been inundated with casualties with Raed Arafat, the head of emergency response at the interior ministry, explaining that victims have been admitted to 10 hospitals across the city. “The situation is slowly stabilising … we have many people with burns, intoxicated with smoke and people squashed,” he said.
It is reported that two members of Goodbye To Gravity are in a critical condition following the blaze.