Explosion causes fire, injures three

  • 2005-04-13
RIGA - An explosion in a building on Avotu street 60, in the capital near noon today injured at least three people and set fire to the building. The cause of the explosion is as of yet unclear. The blast occurred as a bailiff accompanied by police tried to enter a fifth-story apartment to remove one of the inhabitants, allegedly a man named Janis born in 1950.

According to media reports the three injured in the blast are in serious condition. Two of the men have been taken to a Riga hospital, the third to the national burn center. The residents of the apartment had been involved in a dispute with the actual owners of the apartment police said.

The Baltic News Service reported that the resident of the apartment had earlier threatened bailiffs, claiming that he "will be prepared" if they try to evict him.

The building is reportedly the property of the Riga City Council, many of the apartments however have been privatized. Parliament speaker Ingrida Udre, of the Greens and Farmers Union, allegedly owns a first floor apartment in the building.

The Supreme Court ruled in March that the resident of the apartment was to be evicted, if he failed to leave peacefully then he was to be removed by force. Yet when the police and bailiff arrived no one was home at the time. Another date was set for April 7, law enforcement planned to enter the apartment this time even if empty. Some speculated that the door to the apartment may have been boobytrapped.