Fire which killed family in Tartu started with electrical fault ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

House fire in Koidutähe Street, Ihaste, Tartu.
House fire in Koidutähe Street, Ihaste, Tartu. Source: Marek Kiik/Päästeamet

The results of the criminal proceedings initiated on December 11 last year in Ihaste, Tartu, to clarify the circumstances of a fire that killed five members of the same family, confirmed the fire started from an electrical fault. There was no smoke detector in the house.

The rescuers arrived at the scene of the fire within minutes of receiving the report, but the fire burned so fast no one could be rescued from the house, the prosecutor's office announced.

A 27-year-old woman, a 38-year-old man and three children, aged seven, three and one, died in the fire. Initial observations at the scene, suggesting that the fire could have started from behind the refrigerators.

The police initiated criminal proceedings to clarify the specific facts. The collected evidence and expertise revealed that the fire started from a fault in the electrical wiring behind one of the refrigerators and spread from there.

Tatjana Tamm, the district prosecutor of the Southern District Prosecutor's Office, said unfortunately nothing will bring the victims back, but it is important for both the relatives and the public to know what led to such a serious accident.

"Unfortunately, in the case of fires, carbon monoxide, which is very toxic, reaches people before the fire. Even now, expert reports have identified carbon monoxide poisoning as the cause of death," she said.

No traces of smoke detectors were found at the scene and no information referring to smoke detectors was added during the criminal proceedings. 

The cause of the fire was an electrical fault in the wiring behind the refrigerator.

"According to the expert, this fault may have been related to the extension cord socket, but why and how exactly this fault occurred is unfortunately unclear, because that is where the fire started and the equipment and the wires were very damaged, "said Tamm, adding that attention must be paid to fire safety in all homes.

Arvi Uustalu, the head of the prevention office of the Southern Rescue Center, said that regardless of the causes of the accident, a working and properly installed smoke detector would, in any case, have given an early warning of the fire and most likely saved lives.

The criminal proceedings were conducted by the Southern Prefecture under the leadership of the Southern District Prosecutor's Office. The examinations were performed by the Estonian Forensic Institute.



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Editor: Helen Wright

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