Estonian PM visits refugee center at Vao

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Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Roivas visited the accommodation center for asylum seekers at Vao on Thursday, following an arson attack committed against a building of the accommodation center in the early morning.

«I heard the stories of the people living at the accommodation center, and what these stories had in common was fleeing from a war, the dream of a new home and a job, and fear of xenophobia,» Roivas was quoted by spokespeople for the government as saying.

The prime minister said the Estonian state protects the rights of all the people who live here.

«No one should feel unsafe in Estonia,» Roivas said.

Speaking with the people living at the accommodation center, the prime minister said setting fire to a house where families with children are sleeping is a inhumane criminal act which has to be condemned unequivocally.

«I hope that the police will identify the arsonist soon,» he said, also voicing his gratitude to the rescue workers who prevented the worst from happening.

The emergency center received a phone call at 4:30 a.m. on Thursday about the exterior wall of the accommodation center for asylum seekers in Vao village in the Vaike-Maarja rural municipality having caught fire. Rescuers put out the fire that had spread to about ten square meters of the lining and no one was injured.

When fire teams arrived on the scene smoke was coming out from under the wall's insulation layer and residents had been instructed to leave the building. The blaze was put out in about ten minutes. The fire had not spread to the inside of the building and fire teams finished their work putting out the fire shortly before 6 a.m.

Police and the prosecutor's office have started an investigation on the basis of the article of the Penal Code dealing with arson.

The investigation is being conducted by the East prefecture of the Police and Border Guard Board and supervised by the Viru district prosecutor's office.