Eight die in blaze at illegal hostel in Latvia: police

accreditation
Firefighters work at the site of a blaze in the city centre of Riga, Latvia, on 28 April, 2021. According to firefighters in Latvia’s capital Riga, 8 people died and 9 were injured in a fire at a hostel.
Firefighters work at the site of a blaze in the city centre of Riga, Latvia, on 28 April, 2021. According to firefighters in Latvia’s capital Riga, 8 people died and 9 were injured in a fire at a hostel.
Gints Ivuskans / AFP
  • Eight people died and nine were injured in a blaze that broke out in an illegal hostel.
  • DNA tests will be used to identify the victims, police say, as the bodies have been burned beyond recognition. 
  • Residents neighbouring the hostel told local media it had served people abusing drugs and alcohol.

Eight people died and nine were injured in a blaze that broke out in an illegal hostel early on Wednesday in central Riga, police and local authorities said.

"Eight people have died and nine were injured during the lethal fire in the hostel," Latvia's deputy police chief Andrejs Grishins told reporters in Riga.

DNA tests will be used to identify the victims, he added.

Grishins said:

The bodies are burned so badly that we cannot tell yet which country they are from. Their documents have gone up in flames. Coroners and experts will try to establish their identities but lengthy DNA tests will be required.

"The hostel, located on the sixth floor on a state-owned building, was illegal," Martins Stakis, mayor of Riga, tweeted after visiting the scene.

Residents living near the hostel quoted by local media said it had served people abusing drugs and alcohol.

Sandis Girgens, minister of interior affairs, confirmed that firefighters had been prevented from carrying out routine safety checks in the building since January.

"They had thick steel doors installed, and the hostel did not let our firefighting officers in," Girgens told local media.

Authorities had decided to shut down the illegal hostel but the fire broke out before the decision was enforced.


Do you want to know more about this topic? Sign up for one of News24's 33 newsletters to receive the information you want in your inbox. Special newsletters are available to subscribers.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
President Ramaphosa has punted the idea of mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for South Africans. This is:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
The right thing to do. We desperately need more South Africans vaccinated to prevent further mutations and restore normality in our lives.
71% - 9350 votes
A risky strategy. Compulsory vaccinations may have unintended consequences and damage our rollout campaign.
29% - 3749 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
16.14
-1.3%
Rand - Pound
21.36
-0.4%
Rand - Euro
18.26
-0.4%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.30
-0.5%
Rand - Yen
0.14
-0.4%
Gold
1,783.48
0.0%
Silver
22.55
0.0%
Palladium
1,816.00
0.0%
Platinum
936.31
0.0%
Brent Crude
69.88
+0.3%
Top 40
64,307
-0.4%
All Share
70,808
-0.3%
Resource 10
66,503
-1.6%
Industrial 25
93,791
+0.1%
Financial 15
13,982
+0.7%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE