UPDATE: The death toll in the fire at Bucharest nightclub Colectiv has climbed to 45, with Goodbye to Gravity drummer Bogdan Enache among the latest to die from injuries related to the October 30th blaze. Enache was being transported to Zurich, Switzerland for treatment when he died. Goodbye to Gravity guitarists guitarists Vlad Telea and Mihai Alexandru were killed the night of the fire, while singer Andrei Galut and bassist Alex Pascu were also hospitalized with serious injuries.
At least 27 people were killed and over 180 injured after a deadly fire and stampede broke out during a free heavy metal concert at a Bucharest, Romania nightclub. According to multiple reports, the blaze during the band Goodbye to Gravity’s set was caused by stage pyrotechnics that ignited a pair of columns covered in foam insulation in the Soviet-era factory-turned-venue Colectiv, The Telegraph reports.
Photos from inside the venue before the fire spread show the flames climbing the pillars next to the stage up toward the ceiling. “The lead singer made a quick joke: ‘This wasn’t part of the program.’ The next second, he realized it wasn’t a joke and asked for a fire extinguisher,” Delia Tugui, who was at the Friday night concert, wrote on her Facebook page (via The Associated Press). “In 30 seconds… the fire spread all over the ceiling. People rushed to the entrance but it was too narrow, and people panicked. Behind me people stampeded, climbing over each other, to try and get out.”
The Telegraph writes that only one exit was available, forcing the crowd of over 300 people to funnel through that one door. However, once that exit door was opened, the venue filled with oxygen, which further fueled the fire.
Goodbye to Gravity’s guitarists Vlad Telea and Mihai Alexandru were reportedly killed in the fire, while the band’s singer Andrei Galut was hospitalized with serious burns to 45 percent of his body as well as injuries stemming from smoke inhalation, Blabbermouth reports. Bassist Alex Pascu is also reportedly underwent emergency surgery at a nearby hospital for undisclosed injuries. In 2008, Galut won Romania’s Megastar singing competition.
The incident was the worst of its kind in Romania’s history and is reminiscent of the February 2003 nightclub fire at a Great White concert in Rhode Island, where onstage pyrotechnics caused a fire that killed 100 people. “I am saddened, but also revolted that a tragedy of this scale could have taken place in Bucharest,” Romanian president Klaus Iohannis said in a statement. “We already have indications that the legal regulations had not been respected. I hope that the authorities manage their inquiry with speed and rigor.”
Three days of mourning in the Romanian capital are planned for the victims of the Colectiv fire, including a candlelight vigil Saturday outside the venue. “At this point we have to show respect for the dead, to understand how it happened and what we can do in the future to avoid such tragic events,” Romania’s prime minister Victor Ponta said.