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27 Dead, 180 Injured in a Fire at Romanian Metal Show

Approximately 400 were gathered to see local band Goodbye to Gravity at a Bucharest nightclub

UPDATE: Victor Ponta, Romania’s prime minister, has resigned following protests in response to Friday’s metal concert fire in Bucharest, which killed 32 and injured 130, the New York Times reports.

“I have the obligation to acknowledge that there is legitimate anger in society,” Mr. Ponta said in a statement. “People feel the need for more, and it would be wrong of me to ignore this.”

“I am ready to be the one to make this gesture that parts of society are waiting for, and starting today, I am resigning my mandate as prime minister,” he continued. “I do this because in my years as a politician I put up a fight in any battle with political opponents. However, I won’t put up a fight against the people.”

The Times also notes that Ponta had been indicted last July for “forgery, money laundering, and being an accessory to tax evasion” while he was working as a lawyer in 2007 and 2008. 

UPDATE: The death toll from last weekend’s club fire in Bucharest has risen to 31 people, Reuters reports. Police arrested club owners Costin Mincu, Alin George Anastasescu, and Paul Gancea on suspicion of manslaughter on Monday.

According to a prosecutors: “Data and evidence … have shown the fire occurred because the people managing the respective space encouraged and allowed a number of people above the club’s limit in a space that was not endowed with more emergency exits.”

Additionally, the owners allowed “a fireworks show in the indoor venue that was improper as it … contained easily flammable materials illegally installed to avoid additional costs.” As of Monday, more than 130 people are still hospitalized, with more than half of them in critical condition.

Reuters reports that the death toll has risen to 31 people, and police arrested club owners Costin Mincu, Alin George Anastasescu and Paul Gancea on suspicion of manslaughter Monday. Per prosecutors, “Data and evidence … have shown the fire occurred because the people managing the respective space encouraged and allowed a number of people above the club’s limit in a space that was not endowed with more emergency exits.” In addition, the owners allowed “a fireworks show in the indoor venue that was improper as it … contained easily flammable materials illegally installed to avoid additional costs.” More than 130 remained hospitalized Monday, more than half of them in critical condition.

A fire erupted at a nightclub in Bucharest, Romania last night, killing at least 27 and injuring 180, the Telegraph reports. About 400 were gathered at the club, called Colectiv, to attend a free album release show by local metal band Goodbye to Gravity.

According to band member Lemi Black, the show’s pyrotechnic display went off incorrectly, causing two foam pillars to catch fire and smoke to fill the room. “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.”

According to USA Today, one attendee described the ensuing events on her Facebook page: “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. Friends were looking for each other under the pile of people. Asking ‘Is it you? Where are you? I can’t see you. Is that your arm?’ It was a nightmare.”

In response, a dozen ambulances rushed to the scene but were reportedly unable to help every injured person, some of whom were forced to get to the hospital via cars or taxis. Floreasca Emergency Hospital is likewise overwhelmed, with its spokesman, Bogdan Oprita, calling it the worst bloodshed since the 1989 anti-Communist revolution.

The interior ministry has declared the situation a code red emergency, and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis wrote on his Facebook page that he was “deeply grieved by the tragic events that happened this evening in downtown… It is a very sad day for all of us, for our nation and for me personally.”