Romania: 3 Safety Officials Suspended Over Nightclub Fire

In the latest fallout from last month’s fatal Colectiv Club fire in Bucharest, three top safety officials have been suspended from the board of the Bucharest Emergency Situations Inspectorate (ISU) for apparently lying about the tragedy.

Protests in Bucharest on 03 November 2015. Activists held up signs saying "Corruption Kills".Protests in Bucharest on 03 November 2015. Activists held up signs saying "Corruption Kills".Chief Inspector Mihail Guță, First Deputy Orlando Schiopu, and Deputy Giani Aldoiu were suspended Wednesday from the ISU leadership by the General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations.

The men had initially said that the Colectiv nightclub was not included in the ISU’s database, but journalists reported that the ISU in fact knew about the activities of the Colectiv Club.

The fire broke out inside the Colectiv Club on Friday, Oct.30, during a free concert by the band Goodbye to Gravity in connection with the launch of its new album. Sixty people died and more than 100 were hospitalized, prompting thousands of people to join street protests holding signs with the slogan “Corruption Kills”.

The protests forced the government’s resignation.

Prime Minister Dacian Cioloş called for immediate reform of the ISU. "I am waiting for a reform and restructuring plan from Mr. Arafat, particularly on the prevention side. We found out today that ISU Bucharest had been informed of the Colectiv Club problems and, instead of solving them, they added another layer to our bureaucracy.”

Raed Arafat, State Secretary of the Ministry of Health, had initially said the club was operating without the proper fire safety oversight, but said Wednesday that he had been misinformed.

George Matei and Antonia Radu, two inspector-officers  from ISU, were also arrested and accused of abuse of office for failing to enforce safety measures at the club. They remain in detention.