Sa, 4.02.2023

Man killed in Pääsküla explosion described as ordinary

Uwe Gnadenteich
, ajakirjanik
Man killed in Pääsküla explosion described as ordinary
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Friends lit candles in memory of the victim at the scene of the accident.
Friends lit candles in memory of the victim at the scene of the accident. Photo: Eero Vabamägi

A powerful explosion was heard near Ilmarise street in Pääsküla between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Sunday. A hiker found a dead body and notified the police soon after.

The fatal accident took place on the edge of the Pääsküla bog, roughly 100 meters from the nearest houses and a kindergarten. A resident of an apartment building on the edge of the woods told Postimees on Monday morning that the explosion was deafening and caused items in their home to rattle. “I fell off the bed when the bang rang out,” they said.

Another Nõmme resident who lives a few hundred meters from the blast site said they clearly heard the explosion and felt a shock wave. The police had cordoned off the area by 6 p.m. on Sunday and were not letting anyone near. Forensic teams worked almost until midnight.

Dog leads to garage

Small spots of blood were visible next to the hiking trail on Monday morning. A roadside pine tree showed signs of peculiar damage. The bark was dark as if burnt on one side of the tree at a height of approximately 1.5-2 meters. A similar dark mark could be seen near the roots of a tree on the other side. Other nearby trees also exhibited signs of damage. The lower side of a streetlight had come loose, probably as a result of the blast, while the light bulb was still intact.

Forensic experts arrived on the scene again on Monday, with the area cordoned off and the area searched once more. They used a latter to climb the tree to look for more signs of the explosion.

Victim reported to be a good man

The victim was soon identified as 54-year-old Sven who lived with his wife just a few hundred meters away on Ilmarise street. A police vehicle was seen parked in front of the house since Monday morning. The police broke open the door of a metal garage in the yard later in the day. A bomb detection dog was taken into the garage and officers eventually left with an item wrapped in green plastic. Estonian Internal Security Service (ISS) officers busied themselves around the house until Monday evening.

Several candles were lit on the hiking trail when the police had concluded their activities and people were allowed to return to the trail. Two middle-aged men who were lighting candles said that the victim had been their friend and his death took them completely by surprise. While rumors spoke of a possible suicide, Sven’s friends said he had no reason to take his own life.

A man who lives on the same street as the victim described the latter as a helpful fellow. “He had a booze hound for a friend who lives in our stairwell, he showed up to drag him home on a few occasions. He seemed like an ordinary man to me. Built a new fence around his house this summer. Spent quite a long time installing new posts and painting them,” the neighbor said.

Another neighbor said that Sven always helped whenever someone needed to be driven somewhere. Apparently, he recently gave the neighbor a ride in his old black Mercedes that he diligently kept running.

The explosion is being investigated by the ISS that has offered no comment as of yet. The Prosecutor’s Office assured Postimees that people need not fear moving around the Pääsküla bog area.