It is the deadliest such event since the Colective night-club blaze eight years back that ended the lives of 64 people. – write Cristian Cherasim.
The explosion happened Saturday evening, in the commune of Crevedia, 20 km away from Bucharest.
Many of the injured are firefighters as well as a couple of workers present at the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) station.
The second much bigger explosion proved the deadliest as firefighters gathered around the facility to douse the fire.
Crevedia holds about 7000 people many of them scared that the flames which were only extinguished later the next day would engulf their homes. Officials said that they evacuated 3000 people from an area of 700 meters around the epicenter of the accident. Some locals denied that anyone came to evacuate them, or to offer shelter and food.
According to the authorities, the station was operating illegally, it was fined several times. Furthermore ties to the ruling party and various politicians prove that the owners of the station had political backing that helped them to function illegally.
The incident sparked ire amongst the public as it brings back memories of the Collective night-club blaze eight years back when authorities promised that nothing similar would ever happen. The fact that both the nigh-club as well as the gas station were functioning without the proper authorization puts a spotlight on Romania’s corruption problem and how laws can be circumvented via money and political influence.
A criminal investigation is under way to determine how the station was able to function without the proper permit.
Some of the badly injured have already been sent to hospitals in Belgium and Italy as Romania lacks the proper medical infrastructure to treat such severe burns.
Among the injured, two people were transferred during the night to Brussels, and later, two more to Milan. One of the injured transferred to Italy, a 68-year-old patient, is in critical condition, the Romania healthcare minister said, emphasizing that Italian doctors are working hard to stabilize him. Another two will be transferred to Germany. They are part of the group of 8 wounded that Romanian authorities previously announced would leave on Sunday for Austria, Germany and Norway.
All fuel and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) stations in the country will be checked to determine if they operate legally and if they represent a danger to the population, Prime Minister Marcel Ciolacu announced on Sunday during a visit to Crevedia where the tragedy occurred.
“I’m profoundly saddened that the explosions in Crevedia resulted in victims,” President Klaus Iohannis said. “An investigation must quickly be launched to see if rules were broken. I ask the authorities to take urgent measures for the injured so that these tragedies won’t happen again,” he added.