Emergency services put out large fire in Tartu city center Thursday evening

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A building in the center of Tartu, which houses a restaurant, bar and a section of the Tartu City Library, caught fire on Thursday evening. Firefighters were quickly on the scene to tackle the blaze and no people have been reported injured.

Pictures taken at approximately 8:30 p.m. on Thursday evening show the roof of Kompanii 10 in the center of Tartu on fire.

The fire was reported to the Estonian Rescue Board shortly after 8 p.m. Spokesperson for the Southern Rescue Center Henrik Veenpere, told ERR that the fire had broken out in the building at Kompanii 10.

"There are flames on the roof of the building, which we are currently trying to get under control. At the moment, what exactly happened there or where the fire started is unknown," Veenpere said at 8.30 p.m. on Thursday,

By 9.30 p.m. the fire had been contained in the attic and was no longer spreading downwards to the lower floors of the building.

Head of the Southern Rescue Center Guido Kokk told ETV show "Aktuaalne kaamera" that work to extinguish the fire was made more challenging by the fact that it occurred in a large L-shaped building in Tartu's Old Town, where the flames were rising up from the roof.

Kokk was unable to say where exactly the fire may have started. However, he said that it had spread rapidly due to the insulation material used inside the building.

Emergency services at the scene of a fire in the center of Tartu on April 20, 2023/ Source: Michael Cole/ERR

"There are long rooms here that have been built recently, using plasterboard walls and all kinds of insulating materials. The fire spread very quickly because of this insulating material," said Kokk, who added, that rescuers had begun dismantling parts of the roof and wall structures.

The firefighters then started removing the rubble. According to Kokk, no one was injured and no casualties were found inside the building. "Straight from the off, three smoke extractors were sent in and we tried to contain the fire and look for any people, who may have been inside," Kokk said.

Last night, police were asking motorists to avoid Kompanii tänav and Gildi tänav in the center of Tartu as both were completely closed off to traffic. Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) spokesperson Barbara Lichtfeldt also said, that police were diverting traffic on Lai tänav and Munga tänav, while on Vabaduse puiestee, vehicles were being directed towards Narva maantee.

The Police are requesting that people continue to follow the instructions of officers on the ground when travelling in the area.

The police and the fire service were called to the scene at just after 8 p.m.

Italian restaurant Le Dolce Vita is based in the building's basement and part of Tartu City Library is located on the second floor.

Linda Jahilo, head of the city library, told ERR there should be no workers in the office at this time of the evening. She said the library does not operate in the roof of the building.


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Editor: Helen Wright, Michael Cole

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