A blaze at an apartment block in the eastern border town of Narva early on Sunday morning resulted in one fatality, rescuers say, while two more people were hospitalized due to smoke inhalation.
Emergency services were summonsed to the fire, in a fourth-floor apartment on V. Gerassimovi street, south of the city center, at around 6 a.m. on Sunday.
Five adults and two children who had become trapped needed rescuing – two of the adults and the two minors from an adjacent apartment, while the remainder had to be evacuated from the floor above, one, an elderly woman, via the stairwell, and two from their apartment window.
All seven were given medical attention at the scene, and two were subsequently taken to hospital.
The call made at around 6 a.m. reported spoke billowing from a fourth-floor apartment and stated that an individual was inside the apartment – by the time Rescue Board (Päästeamet) personnel were on the scene the building's stairwell was full of smoke. First responders entered the apartment to extinguish the blaze and to search for possible occupants; a man who was found to be unresponsive was located but ambulance crews were unable to resuscitate him, and he was declared dead at the scene.
The fire was extinguished at a little after 7.00 a.m.
The Rescue Board stresses the importance of having a working smoke detector in an apartment – a legal requirement in any case – while the detector should be checked at least once a month and batteries replaced, or the entire unit replaced, if it is not functioning.
In apartment blocks it is also good practice to have an apartment number clearly on display on or near the front door.
An investigation is set to establish the exact circumstances and cause of the blaze.
A total of 23 people have perished in house fires in Estonia so far this year, with the careless use of cigarettes and the absence or non-functioning of smoke detectors noted above a frequent culprit.
Editor: Andrew Whyte