The picturesque town of Haapsalu is located about 100 km from Tallinn. (photo: haapsalu.ee)
HAAPSALU - A fire that tore through an orphanage in the north-western town of Haapsalu Sunday has killed 10 children in one of the worst tragedies the country has ever seen.
"Today's tragedy in Haapsalu has shocked the whole of Estonia," Estonian President Toomas Hendrick Ilves said. "We all share the mourning of the families and relatives of the victims and extend our condolences. Words are a feeble way to give solace, but let us offer support to those whom this dreadful accident has affected."
The fire took place at around 2:30 in the afternoon. Local media reported that the blaze spread quickly and that part of the building collapsed before everyone could be evacuated. Most of the victims were in wheelchairs.
The tragic fire is the deadliest of it's kind since the country regained independence.
Reports indicate that there were 37 children and nine adults in the building at the time of the fire. Two of the adult caretakers were hospitalized, but their lives are not in danger.
The children in the home were all under 18 and suffered from a wide range of disabilities.
Happsalu is a town of just over 10,000 people located on the coast about 100 kilometers from the capital.