A fire which broke out in an Viljandi apartment on Friday evening after a gas-fired barbecue exploded led to the evacuation of all residents from the residential block.
Noone was seriously injured in the incident.
The blaze caused the Rescue Board (Päästeamet), Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) and ambulance crews to evacuate the entire apartment building, Toome tn 14, close to the town center, while an adjacent apartment block was also subsequently evacuated, in the interests of safety.
Two people were hospitalized for check-ups, and the fire, which began shortly before 7 p.m., was not declared fully extinguished until quarter-to-one the following morning.
Two people were hospitalized due to smoke inhalation.
Henrik Veenpere, spokesman for the Southern District Rescue Center (Lõuna päästekeskus), told ERR hat a relief shift had on Saturday morning checked the building's saftey before informing the local authorities that residents would be allowed to retrieve personal belongings from the block.
The entire apartment building remained nonetheless temporarily uninhabitable due to fire, smoke and water damage, Veenpere added.
Viljandi City Government has organized temporary accommodation for up to 50 people in a local guest house, with other facilities to be made available where needed.
The residents of the adjacent building, Toome tn 12, were permitted to return their apartments at around 11 p.m. on the Friday.
First responders had come not only from Viljandi, but also from brigades located in the surrounding area: Suure-Jaani, Mustla, Abja-Paluoja, Annelinna, Kõpu and Põltsamaa.
Further proceedings will determine the exact circumstances of the conflagration and its ultimate cause.
The Rescue Board stresses that a bottled gas-fired grill or barbecue must never be used indoors or in any confined space.
Additionally, the grill must be placed on a stable, flat surface, and away from combustible materials.
It must be lit with any hood or cover in an up position, while if the odor of gas – in fact additives put in for this precise purpose – is detected, the grill and all other nearby devices must be immediately switched off.
Initial reports received by the Alarm Center (Häirekeskus) stated that the explosion had taken place on a fourth-floor balcony, of a four-storey block, after which the building's roof ignited.
Editor: Andrew Whyte, Merili Nael, Aleksander Krjukov