Tragic Incident Results in Calls for Kid-Safe Apartment Blocks

Photo: Postimees/Scanpix
7/16/2013 11:28 AM
Category: Society

Apartment associations must play a role in reporting dangerous equipment on their territory, a Tartu city official said following an incident when a clothes drying structure tipped over, killing a 7-year-old.

The accident happened three weeks ago in one of the city's outlying Soviet-era neighbourhoods, and was first reported by the media on Monday.

Instead of washing lines, courtyards of some apartment buildings were fitted with more permanent drying trees, similar to a football goal and built of steel pipe. The structure involved in the the late June incident was corroded near the base.

It has evoked memories of a fatal accident at Tallinn's Rukilill nursery school several years ago where a 3-year-old got his head caught between rungs of a playground ladder, which also prompted inspections and replacements of Soviet-era equipment and other infrastructure not up to code.  

Tartu deputy mayor Raimond Tamm said that the city helped last year to address problems at playgrounds on apartment association land, but did not inspect the clothes drying structures.

Tamm said the city does its part, but cannot get to all possible pitfalls on private property. He recommended that apartment associations report dangers and the city or municipality would help remove them.

"Every owner should check whether the structures on his property are dangerous," said Tamm, "then, if they are, take immediate action."

The Union of Apartment Associations in Tartu concurred, acknowledging that the structures are in the area of responsibility of the building associations. But, said Anne Valk, a board member, it does not have sufficient powers to make the associations comply.

The police have opened an investigation into the June incident.


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