Last night someone asked me what it’s like for someone whose job it is to understand codes to live in a “codeless” country. While some of the larger cities in Mexico have adopted requirements to help ensure the safety of building occupants, and even some of the smaller cities have rules like a requirement for signage indicating egress routes, most facilities here do not come close to meeting the US requirements for egress, fire protection, and accessibility. This is the case in many other countries as well, although this is starting to change, at least with new construction.
Unfortunately, tragic incidents continue to occur – often exacerbated by insufficient safety protocols. A nightclub fire in Bucharest, Romania last Friday was devastatingly similar to the 2003 Station Nightclub fire in Rhode Island. Thirty-one people have died and almost 200 were injured in the Bucharest fire. Let this be a reminder for continued vigilance about safety – in the US and abroad, and a call for more stringent requirements worldwide.
Survivors of a deadly nightclub fire and stampede in Romania say the lead singer of the heavy metal band on stage first made a joke about the fire before it engulfed the basement club in downtown Bucharest.
Hundreds of young people had gone clubbing at the hip Colectiv nightclub on Friday to enjoy a free concert by the Goodbye to Gravity metal band. The evening ended in horror, as the inferno caused a panic that killed 27 people and injured 180 others.
It was eerily familiar to the 2003 fire in the U.S. at the Station nightclub in Rhode Island that killed a hundred, CBS News correspondent Barry Petersen reports. Like Friday night’s blaze, many died because they could not escape the flames.
Around 146 people remained hospitalized Saturday, some in critical condition suffering from burns and smoke inhalation. Officials expect the death toll to rise in what is the worst disaster of its kind ever in Romania.
Amid the tears in Bucharest Sunday, there were bursts of anger and calls for punishing those deemed responsible for what happened. Witnesses said the fire started as a pyrotechnics show ignited foam, which lead to a stampede to a single exit from the club.
“The owners of the nightclub and authorities should be punished for allowing this to happen,” said Anne-Marie Duminica, 36. “I hope they rot in prison.”
There has been widespread anger that the club had only one exit door, the rock band used fireworks in its repertoire, and the ceiling and pillars were clad in flammable foam. Criticism has also been raised against Romania’s lax fire regulations.
Three Romanian nightclubs on Monday acknowledged they had been reckless and failed to respect safety standards, apologizing to clients and promising to either close or upgrade safety at their venues, following a fire in a Bucharest nightclub that killed at least 30 people.
The owner of Expirat, Andrei Sosa, announced the permanent closure of his Bucharest club, which has only one exit door. “I apologize and I take responsibility. From 2003 I have put the lives of thousands in danger. Weekend after weekend and sometimes during the week,” he said.
In Iasi, a city in northeastern Romania, La Baza club apologized for not meeting minimum safety requirements. “We consider we have been ignorant and irresponsible. We were lucky. We don’t want to put anyone’s life in danger,” it said on its Facebook page.
Rockstadt, a big music venue in the central city of Brasov, said in a statement on its Facebook page that it would close for 10 days to replace foam similar to that which caught alight in the Colectiv club, install sprinklers and bring the club up to European standards.