The Estonian branch of Maxima, a grocery chain that claims to be the biggest employer in the Baltics, said it will increase scrutiny of building safety following yesterday's collapse of a roof at one of its stores in Latvia, where the death toll is close to 40.
The company's head of the communication in Estonia, Ty Lehtmäe, said the Latvian building was unique in the Baltics - it had won a prize for architecture in 2011 - and added that Maxima had not worked in Estonia with that building's developers and builders. She added that technical inspections are carried out when a property is leased as well as regularly each year, reported uudised.err.ee.
"In Estonia, Maxima uses properties in different ways, as is the case with other retail chains. Partly it is itself the owner of property and partly it uses rented space. The stores include both newer and older buildings, and all of the stores hold the required activity licenses and permits issued by state regulators," Lehtmäe said.
"Nevertheless, in response to the Riga tragedy we will place Maxima's Estonian properties under greater scrutiny," Lehtmäe said.
"We believe and hope that the investigation will reveal the cause as soon as possible."
Estonia has experienced two notable structure collapses since re-independence. One, in Marja store in Mustamäe, killed six people in 1994. Shortly after Solaris shopping center was opened in 2009, a lightweight suspended ceiling fell into a cinema after a showing. No one was injured.