Estonian authorities are suspecting poisoning caused by faulty gas fittings after the bodies of two children aged four and seven were found in a home in the Kakumäe neighbourhood of Tallinn early on Saturday evening. More than ten other houses on the same gas supply line were found to have leaks as well.
An emergency call was received at 18:11 EEST on Saturday according to which the bodies of two children were found in a semi-detached house in Kakumäe, a subdistrict of Tallinn's Haabersti District. Police, an ambulance and rescuers were dispatched immediately.
An ambulance transported a two-year-old child and the children's parents from the same home to hospital for health checks. According to current information, a gas leak occurred in the other half of the same building, but no people suffered as a result on that side.
Rescuers carried out checks in all the homes linked up to the same gas supply line to ensure that no more residents were in danger. The line in question provided gas to houses on three streets, and by late Saturday night, gas leaks had been identified in a total of 12 houses. Rescuers contacted residents in all of the affected homes and it was determined that no one else had suffered as a result of the leakage.
The gas supply line was switched off, and rescuers continued checks at the time of reporting late on Saturday night.
"The police, experts and rescuers are working on the scene to establish all circumstances," said Valter Pärn, chief of operations at the North Prefecture of the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA). "On behalf of the authorities, I would like to extend our condolences to the parents of the children who died as well as their next-of-kin."
According to Pärn, a criminal investigation has been launched.
Andra Sild, senior prosecutor at the North District Prosecutor's Office supervising the investigation, said that the details of the tragic events will be established in the course of the investigation.
"Based on initial information, there are grounds to believe that the criminal procedure will focus primarily on whether the gas system installed in the building and oversight over it were consistent with all valid requirements," Sild said.
The Rescue Board reminded residents that gas installations must be checked at least once per year. In the event of suspected gas poisoning, windows and doors should be opened immediately and authorised personnel notified to eliminate the leak.
In case of symptoms of gas poisoning, such as vomiting, dizziness, headaches and double vision, call 112 immediately.
Editor: Aili Vahtla