Several files have been sent to court after the tragedy occurred in the Colectiv club two years ago, that claimed 64 lives and left more than 140 injured. However, none of these cases were solved, so no one has been found guilty so far.
The Colectiv club was located on 7 Tabacarilor street in district 4 in the Capital. A fire burst on the night of October 30, 2015 during a concert performed by “Goodbye to Gravity”. The local rock band was launching their latest album. The fire was caused by some fireworks scheduled in the show and has rapidly expanded due to the inflammable material of the club’s walls. The numerous people attending the show practically crowded to get out of the club, but many remained trapped inside and burnt to death. There were hundreds of people in there and only one exit way. Moreover, there were few fire extinguishers that were out of service. Four of the band’s members died in the fire, why the vocalist was severly injured.
Bucharest Tribunal has ruled in September to postpone the hearing that should have decided if the Romanian state would be called as guarantor for the payment of the damages. Several people are on trial in this case, among whom the owners of the former Colectiv nightclub and former District 4 mayor, Cristian Popescu Piedone.
“A new adjournment, the rest was just show. We have been debating this for two months. They say they have no interpreter (…) I cannot imagine the largest tribunal in the country does not have an interpreter. Probably an endless adjournment is wanted,” said Eugen Iancu, the father of Alexandru, one of the youngsters who died in the blaze.
Judges have set a new hearing on November 20, claiming a lack of procedure for the adjournment on Monday.
“After two years, the judiciary system has no answer, no outcome yet. Those who are more or less guilty are free, they do what they want, while our children are buried. It’s not about compensations here. We don’t have our hearts set on asking compensations, we want the people who made mistakes to be punished and (…) something to change in the healthcare system. There hasn’t been any change in the healthcare for 2 years. At present, there is no bed, no specialist, no seat for the burnt. There are 600 burnt people in Romania on average per year, with 70% of them dying due to improper conditions in Romania,” said Jean Chelba, father of Alexandru Chelba, also dead on the Colectiv fire.
Following the deadly blaze on October 30, 2015, 64 people died, 27 on the spot in the fire and the rest after that while being hospitalized in Romania or abroad. Other 164 people were injured. After the fire, prosecutors have started several investigations against the owners of the Colectiv club, against the company that organized the fireworks show during the concert performed by “Goodbye to Gravity” rock band, and against the District 4 City Hall, among whom against the mayor in office back then, Cristian Popescu Piedone. Another file is on the register of the Bucharest Military Tribunal and targets two employees of the Inspectorate for Emergency Situations who would have not carried out their duties when checking the club.
In the first case claimants are asking compensations worth EUR 42,194,144 and RON 28,477,456, while in the second case 90 people have brought a civil action asking compensations ranging from EUR 30,000 to EUR 2 million.
The prosecutors consider that the Romanian state should called as guarantor for the payment of the damages, arguing that the effects of the Colectiv disaster “should not remain illusory”. Investigators also argue that a compensation ruling is impossible to be really enforced, as “the civil parts will not be able to obtain the civil compensations established by the court for the defendants don’t have enough money and goods to cover the prejudice.”
Scarcities of the health and emergency systems
At the same time, the Colectiv case revealed the scarce facilities of the Romanian health system and of the emergency services.
Many of the injured contracted resilient nosocomial infections during hospitalizations, with many even passing away due to these infections. The tragedy also showed that no Romanian hospital was prepared to treat cases of serious burns. Some patients were eventually transferred abroad, but for many it was too late.
It was also revealed that emergency authorities were neither ready to cope with such tragedies, as their response action at the moment of the tragedy was too slow. The victims of the fire had to wait 11 minutes until the first ambulance got on the scene. No new ambulance was bought in the past two years.
Many survivors recounted their tragic experiences in the hospitals. One of them, Alexandra Furnea, says she left the Hospital for Burnt with all her wounds infected. She also says that doctors kept telling her and her family that all tests are clean. “My mother was told that all my tests are Ok and that everything happens to me is because I am delicate and my body is not ready to face such a trauma“, Alexandra recounted.
The young woman added she had got infected in a bathtub where all patients with burns were bathed and which was disinfected with Hexipharma products that were proved to be diluted.
“There were also honest doctors at the Hospital for Burnt, who admitted and told patients they had been infected and these patients had been supported to go abroad for treatment. But those of us who had the bad luck to ask the ones we shouldn’t….have been lied to and they played with our lives. The doctors who lied, who refused bed donations, who didn’t admit there was a problem, are accomplice to murder and, unfortunately, they have the dead ones’s blood on their hands,” Alexandra stated, as quoted by Digi24.
President Iohannis commemorates the day posting banner with the victims’ names on his Facebook page
President Klaus Iohannis has posted a banner with all the victims of the Colectiv fire as cover photo of his Facebook page on Monday, to commemorate two years since the tragedy.
Entitled “#Colectiv. October 30, 2015”, the names of all those 64 victims and their age are mentioned on a black background. The youngest victim was 15, the oldest-48. Several lit candles are seen behind the banner.