Tags: EU | Romania | Nightclub Fire | Hero

Romania Buries Hero of Nightclub Fire

Romania Buries Hero of Nightclub Fire

Tuesday, 03 November 2015 02:13 PM

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — A hero of a Bucharest nightclub fire that killed at least 32 people was buried on Tuesday, drawing hundreds of weeping mourners to the popular photographer and blogger's funeral, including the patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church who had to enter the church by the back gate.

Claudiu Petre, a kind-hearted and bearded 36-year-old rocker, returned to the blaze in the Colectiv nightclub on Friday night to rescue a woman and then went back into the inferno in the basement club. He was never seen alive again.

Colleagues and friends recalled his final moments as they bade farewell to Petre, who President Klaus Iohannis decorated posthumously for his "bravery, altruism and dedication" in a memorial service lasting more than two hours.

"I saw the first fireworks show at the club," photographer Valentin Diaconescu, 41, told The Associated Press. "And then I left about 5-10 minutes before the fire broke out as I had another event to cover."

"The last conversation I had with him was about London, where he'd gone about two weeks ago, to take photos of a band called Coma."

Witnesses say the blaze erupted when a spark ignited flammable foam, sending panicked people stampeding to the single-door exit. Petre was seen dragging the girlfriend of another photographer out of the club. Petre then went back into the burning basement a second time. That was the last time anyone saw him.

The nightclub's three owners have been detained for questioning, and dozens of people remain hospitalized with serious burns.

Popular and respected among rockers and photographers, Petre, an only child who was unmarried, was a physics graduate who made a living from an IT business.

Best friend Alexandra Siru, 30, said he was "an intelligent person with a big heart."

Patriarch Daniel made a surprise visit to the site of the memorial service, entering the church by the back gate, thus avoiding mourners who have been critical of the Romanian Orthodox Church for failing to address public grief unlike clerics from other churches.

Outside the St. Dumitru church, dozens of leather-jacketed rockers, carrying mauve chrysanthemums, men sporting beards, ponytails and pierced ears, smoked and fumed about criticism directed at their music and lifestyle by some Romanians. Only friends and family were allowed into the courtyard of the church in a hardscrabble district of the capital.

An Associated Press cameraman was shoved by mourners outside the church's gate, while an AP reporter was told to leave while conducting interviews.

In a tribute to Petre's popularity, friends said they felt his spirit was still among them.

"He was— no he is— a wonderful person, cheerful, he helped everyone, he was the life and soul of the party," Diaconescu said. "He is all of those things. I don't want to talk about him as if he's gone."

© Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


   
1Like our page
2Share
Europe
A hero of a Bucharest nightclub fire that killed at least 32 people was buried on Tuesday, drawing hundreds of weeping mourners to the popular photographer and blogger's funeral, including the patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church who had to enter the church by the back...
EU,Romania,Nightclub Fire,Hero
469
2015-13-03
Tuesday, 03 November 2015 02:13 PM
Newsmax Media, Inc.
 
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved