5 years since the Colectiv fire. Human chain in memory of the victims

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5 years since the Colectiv fire are commemorated today, October 30. The tragic fire in a nightclub in Bucharest five years ago claimed 64 lives and left hundreds injured.

President Klaus Iohannis has laid a wreath at the venue of the former Colectiv club, also announcing the promulgation of a law through which the state will cover the expenses with the treatments of the injured ones for life.

Several days ago, the Parliament passed a draft law according to which the expenses for the treatments in Romania or abroad of the people injured in the Colectiv fire will be covered by the Health Ministry during their lifetime.

At the same time, a human chain in the memory of the victims will be organized in the Capital today, linking the venue of the club to the Bucharest Court of Appeal. Five years since the tragedy the file is still dragging on in the court, with nobody being held accountable yet.

“Five years ago, a chain of pain put us on our knees #colectiv. Children and parents, brothers and sisters, friends and lovers burnt on October 30, 2015 and changed our life without even knowing that. 5 years after #colectiv, a chain of incompetence and corruption is still taking lives every day in Romania. Five years after #colectiv, we ask or justice!. Distanced every four metres we’ll make a human chain from the Bucharest Court of Appeal to the Colectiv club”, organizers said.

A fire took place in the Colectiv club on the night of October 30,2015 during a free concert performed by the rock band Goodbye to Gravity, which released its new album “Mantras of War”. The fire burst from some fireworks launched during the performance. 27 people in the club died on the spot in the fire, while 162 people injured were transferred to hospitals in Bucharest. Later on, 34 patients who were severely burnt were transferred to medical clinics in Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, UK, Norway, Israel and Switzerland. Unfortunately many of them lost their battle and died due to the severe burns and due to the nosocomiale infections contracted in the Romanian hospitals.

Furious about the tragedy and about the corruption that led to the fire,  thousands Romanians took to the streets in Bucharest and other cities on November 3, 2015, asking for the resignation of the Cabinet back then led by Victor Ponta and of the former district 4 mayor Cristian Popescu Piedone.

The Ponta Government and mayor Piedone resigned from office on the next day, November 4. The mayor and the owners of the Colectiv club, as well as two firemen from the Inspectorate of Emergency Situations, who released the operating permit for the Colectiv club although it did not meet the safety standards to function, were arrested and indicted.

In December last year, Bucharest Tribunal pronounced the first sentences in the Colectiv file. Former District 4 mayor Cristian Popescu Piedone has been sentenced to 8 years and a half in prison, and the three owners of the Colectiv club, Anastasescu George Alin, Mincu Costin and Gancea Paul-Cătălin – 11 years and 8 months in prison each. Maximum sentences were also given to the two firefighters  who checked the club- 9 years and 2 months in prison, Radu Antonina and Matei George-Petrică.

According to the tribunal’s reasoning, the tragedy of the Colectiv club that prompted the death of 65 people and the injuring of other hundreds is the result of a chain criminal activity,

They received prison sentences in first court, but appeals are still under way, with final rulings still pending. Former mayor Cristian Popescu Piedone was released in the meantime and he even ran for the district 5 mayor seat and won elections.

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