BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Fire engulfed a popular nightclub in Bucharest, the Romanian capital, early Saturday, sending 44 people to the hospital, including one who was seriously injured, officials said.
The fire erupted in the early hours at the upscale Bamboo nightclub, which was burned to the ground. Most people suffered from smoke inhalation, according to the Romanian capital's ambulance service, while others were injured as they reportedly leapt from the upper level of the lakeside club to escape the flames.
Hundreds were reportedly in the club at the time.
Interior Ministry spokeswoman Monica Dajbog said 44 received hospital treatment, and by Saturday evening five were still hospitalized. Some party-goers who rushed outside without picking up their coats suffered hypothermia in the -12 Celsius (10 Fahrenheit) degree cold.
The fire evoked memories of the disaster at another Bucharest nightclub in October 2015, which killed 64 people— the worst nightclub fire in the country's history.
Prosecutors have opened an inquiry into the Bamboo fire but there was no immediate word on its cause.
Witness Corina Anghel told private television station Digi24 that people were smoking upstairs and the roof caught fire. She also said waiters served bottles of drinks with sparklers attached. Indoor fireworks and smoking inside public places are illegal in Romania.
Bamboo has several clubs in Romania, and one in Miami, Florida. It first opened in Bucharest in 2002 and was rebuilt after it was destroyed by a fire in 2005.