Th, 1.06.2023
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Rescue Board head: leaving Laekvere family without electricity was irresponsible

Andres Einmann
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Photo: Marianne Loorents / Virumaa Teataja

Rescue Board director-general Kuno Tammearu deems it irresponsible that electricity had been switched off in the house at Rohu village, Laekvere, Lääne-Viru County where a mother (33) perished in fire with two young children – boys aged five and two – on January 1st.

«As head of Rescue Boards I cannot understand how electricity may be switched off for a family with children. I think this is irresponsible. A house with no electricity is automatically at heightened risk,» said Mr Tammearu.

According to Rescue Board statistics, 35 percent of the houses with fires claiming lives have had no electricity. «In the house, people need light and heat to live. With no electricity, they will use open fire and open fire is always dangerous. There is no such thing as safe candles,» noted Mr Tammearu.

According to Mr Tammearu, local governments and all people ought to pay more attention to ways of preventing such tragic incidents. He thinks there should be a system to avoid situations of families left without power.

Mr Tammearu pointed out Valga as a good example of investing into safety of people, where people were granted the option to move out of half empty apartment houses and relocate unto decently renovated rental spaces. With that, the physical environment of the people immediately become safer.

«The other good example is in Rõuge Commune, Võru County, where the commune elder Tiit Toots has introduced a system for all the elderly in the commune visited and checked whether they have smoke detectors and if the heating is okay. If needed, a smoke detector is fastened unto the ceiling. They had a collection in the commune and, for the elderly who had the need, fireplaces were fixed. Thereby, two problems are solved: as the fireplace, chimney etc is okay, it gives more heat and they will save on fuel; secondly, it’s safer,» said Mr Tammearu.

The Rescue Board head pointed out the practice has been effective and the last time the Rõuge Commune of over 2,200 inhabitants had a fire with deaths was in March 2008. «As head of Rescue Board, I call upon people to notice and to care about the situation of the relatives and neighbours. All ought to ask themselves: have I done enough for my neighbour not to be bad off? Do they have a smoke detector? This does not sound good, but it feels like we have agreed that let the people who drink die... Or that some people are so advanced in years, makes no difference, let them go. The Estonian society can’t afford that, everybody matters,» said Mr Tammearu.

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