RIGA - All persons that died in a deadly fire at an illegal hostel in downtown Riga in April have been identified, LETA was told at the State Police.
On June 10, police informed that the identities of seven of the nine persons who died in the blaze were established and that all seven were Latvian citizens. Now police have revealed that the remaining two fire victims have been identified as well and that they too are Latvian citizens.
As reported, a total of six people have been detained by the police in connection with the fire. Several of them are still in custody, including businessman Ernests Rieksts.
Rieksts, who had disappeared for a while after the hostel fire, was arrested on June 10. Rieksts said in a media statement prior to his arrest that his suspect's status in the hostel fire case was part of politicians' PR strategy. He also said that fire safety in the building was "top notch" and that there were smoke detectors everywhere.
Rieksts also said that he had not been to the apartment on Merkela Street for one-and-a-half years, and that the hostel was run by other people. In addition, Rieksts claimed that the fire may have been arson.
As reported, on April 28, a fire at an illegal hostel at 8 Merkela Street in downtown Riga killed nine people and injured several more. The State Police opened a criminal case and arrested several persons.