Two people deceased, 57 injured, including 42 firefighters and police officers – this is the heart-wrenching toll of the two powerful explosions that rocked an LPG station near Bucharest last evening. The incident also prompted the evacuation of thousands from the vicinity.
At the Bucharest Clinical Emergency Hospital, 31 patients were hospitalized following the incident, 26 of whom are currently receiving medical care, 3 of whom have been intubated. Two patients have been transferred to Brussels and efforts are being made to organize the transfer of another six patients abroad. Unfortunately, the three civilians seriously injured in the initial explosion are still in very serious condition and cannot be transported at this time. In addition, two patients are being treated at the Burn Hospital and the Bagdasar Arseni hospital is treating 11 victims, of which two are in critical condition.
This incident highlights the recurring problem of not learning from past mistakes. The investigation found that, although it appears to have been closed since 2020, the station was still operating illegally. According to the initial investigation, an employee was smoking and filling an LPG cylinder, causing a serious rupture of the pipeline. The Red Response Plan was activated nearly an hour after the first explosion, but the explosion that followed was even more destructive, injuring many people.
Colonel Benone Duduc of the Dâmbovița County Inspectorate for Emergency Situations (ISU), presented an overview of the events leading up to the explosion. He explained that after an inspection carried out in 2020, it was found that the company responsible for distributing LPG in Crevedia had violated safety measures, so its fire safety license was withdrawn. Therefore, a total fine of 50,000 lei was imposed. This alarming situation has been reported to several authorities. The company then informed authorities that they were shutting down that particular site.
Interestingly, the LGP station known as Flagas SRL is owned by the son of Caracal’s mayor, a member of the Social Democratic Party. Romanian Minister Marcel Ciolacu, a member of the same political party, declined to act on the situation, saying it was not part of his job description.
Corneliu Ștefan, the President of Dâmbovița County Council, gave an update on the aftermath of the explosion and fire at the Crevedia LPG station. According to him, the incident caused eight houses to be destroyed and 11 others damaged. In response, he assured that temporary accommodation would be provided to all evacuated families in the surrounding area. In addition, he also participated in discussions with the Prime Minister on strategies to support those affected by this unfortunate event.
Eight years after the fire in Collective Club (which was also functioning without a fire safety license), where 64 people lost their lives during a rock concert, Alexandra Furnea challenged the authorities to prove they learned something from their past mistakes.
"In no way should you believe that we now have everything we need. We don't. Our hospitals remain unprepared, and healthcare-associated infections continue to take lives. Dear authorities, esteemed ministers, grant the burn victims from Crevedia the chance you denied us. Do not let them perish as a cover for the deficiencies of a medical system ravaged by corruption, all to safeguard your positions. Transfer them abroad now, not a week from now,” she said in a Facebook post. "Beg, if necessary. Plead with them to accept our victims. Prove that Romania has learned something from the Collective tragedy," she added.
Thirty-eight Collective victims are believed to have died from healthcare-associated infections in 2015. The hospital conditions were less than adequate to care for victims with open wounds and the state refused the transfer abroad of many of them. Some patients were transferred by their families, and many ended up dying abroad because of the infections they caught while being treated in Romania.
Alexandra Furnea survived the ordeal and shed light on the gruesome reality in her memoir. The book will be published in English by Histria Books in Fall 2024.