Deaths in Metal Tragedy Lead to Collapse of the Government of Romania

While Canada was engaged in a swearing-in love-fest for the new prime minister, the government of Romania fell apart with the resignation of its PM following the horrific pyro-related fire at a metal show that has killed 32 people (so far, including two members of the band Goodbye to Gravity) and injured 130.

Wait: how could a fire at a club lead to the fall of a federal government. Good question.

Safety standards at Romanian clubs are often non-existent. In the case of The Collectiv, the venue was in an old wooden-framed factory with flammable acoustic foam sprayed on the pillars holding up the roof. It’s that foam which ignited during a pyro display. Fire and smoke sent the crowd into stampeding for the few small doors that led to the outside.

Because safety measures are seen as too expensive to install in clubs, government safety officials are often bribed to turn a blind eye. In the case of The Collectiv, there were two previous fire-and-smoke incidents where no one was hurt. Club owners were not prosecuted and the venue was allowed to keep operating as usual. Then came the Goodbye to Gravity tragedy.

The disaster was the final straw in an administration that has been plagued by other corruption scandals that run very, very deep. Prime Minister Victor Ponta was already on trial on charges of tax evasion, money laundering and assorted false and misleading statements. After three days of mourning the victims in the fire, more than 20,000 people took to the streets demanding change.

With Ponta now gone, Romanian president Klaus Iohannis promised that the government would take care of the medical bills of all those injured. The country’s nightclubs are now under serious scrutiny with one already closing.

(Via The Music Network)

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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