Romania disco bosses arrested over deadly blaze

Candles are lit on October 31, 2015 to remember the victims of a nightclub fire in Bucharest (AFP Photo/Daniel Mihailescu) (AFP/File)

Bucharest (AFP) - Three bosses of a nightclub in Romania, where a weekend blaze left 31 people dead and nearly 200 injured were arrested Monday on suspicion of manslaughter, prosecutors said Monday.

The three men aged between 28 and 36 were questioned for several hours in connection with the fire late Friday in the club in the capital Bucharest.

Witnesses said a fireworks display triggered the blaze at the Colectiv nightclub in a former shoe factory which sparked a stampede as terrified revellers scrambled to get out. Most of the victims were killed on the spot. Nearly 200 people were injured.

Romanian media and witnesses have questioned safety regulations at the club. Witnesses spoke of the absence of an emergency exit and the use of flammable material to soundproof the venue.

The disco did not have the required authorisation to hold concerts or to stage pyrotechnic displays, the secretary of state at the interior ministry, Raed Arafat, has said.

Prosecutors must now look into who should have ensured the club had all the proper permits before it opened.

One of the three suspects taken into custody Monday is a former barman with shares in several clubs.

Two of the other clubs in which he has a stake were also destroyed by fires in recent years, Evenimentul Zilei daily reported.