Romania disco bosses arrested over fire that killed 31 and injured nearly 200

People waiting to donate blood to help the victims of a fire in a club in Bucharest, Romania.
People waiting to donate blood to help the victims of a fire in a club in Bucharest, Romania. PHOTO: AFP

BUCHAREST (AFP) - Three bosses of a nightclub in Romania, where a weekend blaze left 31 people dead and nearly 200 injured, have been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter, prosecutors said.

The three men aged between 28 and 36 were questioned for several hours in connection with the fire late on Friday (Oct 30) in the club in the capital Bucharest.

Witnesses said a fireworks display triggered the blaze at the Colectiv nightclub in a former shoe factory which sparked a stampede as terrified revellers scrambled to get out. Most of the victims were killed on the spot. Nearly 200 people were injured.

Romanian media and witnesses have questioned safety regulations at the club. Witnesses spoke of the absence of an emergency exit and the use of flammable material to soundproof the venue.

The disco did not have the required authorisation to hold concerts or to stage pyrotechnic displays, Secretary of State at the Interior Ministry Raed Arafat has said.

Prosecutors must now look into who should have ensured the club had all the proper permits before it opened.

One of the three suspects taken into custody on Monday (Nov 2) is a former barman with shares in several clubs.

Two of the other clubs in which he has a stake were also destroyed by fires in recent years, Evenimentul Zilei daily reported.