Hundreds of young people were packed into a music club in central Bucharest, Romania, jamming to the head-pounding heavy metal music filling their ears.
But a fire that may have been sparked by pyrotechnics late Friday quickly erupted into a widespread blaze with dark, blinding smoke — killing at least 27 people and injuring more than 160 others, authorities said.
It was almost Halloween at Colectiv, a club built inside a communist-era factory. The band, Goodbye to Gravity, was celebrating a new album with a free concert.
The blaze left the 300 or 400 people packed inside scrambling toward the one exit in one of Romania’s deadliest fires in recent memory.
Authorities said the cause of the fire hasn’t been determined.
Monica Dajbog, a spokeswoman for the Interior Ministry, said many of the injured — who were taken to 12 hospitals — were in critical condition.
A prosecutor and fire specialists will investigate the scene and determine how the fire started, she said.
Paul Angelescu, a reporter with ProTV, said the mayor told him the club had all the necessary permits to operate as a club.
Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said he was “shocked and deeply saddened” by the news.
“It is a very sad moment for all of us, for our nation and for me personally,” he said in a post to his Facebook page.
The fire appears to be the deadliest nightclub blaze since a 2013 fire at a nightclub in Santa Maria, Brazil, killed more than 230 people.