Supermarket disaster: I was speaking to them yesterday, now theyre gone

  • 2013-11-22
  • By Rayyan Sabet-Parry, RIGA

A supermarket employee has told of his grief after losing three friends to the supermarket tragedy. 

Up to 40 people are dead and dozens more injured after a shopping center roof collapsed in Riga on Thursday, Nov. 21.

Emergency services were called Zolitudes shopping center at around 18:00 after the roof of the building collapsed on shoppers.

Police say a winter garden was being constructed on the roof and may have been the cause of the collapse, although investigations are ongoing.

Among the the dead are three firefighters, said emergency services. Around 30 people have been injured and hospitalized, reports LETA.

A 20 year old Maxima employee who declined to give his name broke down in tears as he tried to come to terms with the disaster. He told the Baltic Times that three of his friends were trapped in the rubble.

"I was speaking to them yesterday, now they're gone. "

"I just can't believe it. I don't know what to say. I can't eat, I can't sleep."

Zolitudes local resident Larissa whose flat overlooks the devastated shopping center told the Baltic Times how she was minutes away from entering the shopping center before it collapsed.

She said: "I go to Maxima  two, three times a day. I left my car in the car park and wanted to go in to get some dog food. Dog school rang me to say that my  class was an hour earlier that day. I thought, there's no time, so I didn't go inside. 

"As soon as I got to dog school my daughter rang me to tell me what happened. I didn't believe it. Even when I see it now, I can't believe it.

"Its terrible, who would've thought that this could happen. It's at a time when people finish work and there's many people in there."

Other local residents waited anxiously for news after hearing that a relative was stuck inside the rubble. 

A day of  mourning will be held on Nov. 23-24.