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The identification of high-risk fire locations must be improved

Published 5.7.2016
The investigation of a fire in Hirvensalo, Turku, on 11 May, raised issues that the Safety Investigation Authority has highlighted in its previous recommendations.

While the rescue services promptly put out the fire, which was caused by negligence, in its early stages, a woman who had been in the apartment in which the fire started had already died. The fire had also spread to the structures above the apartment. The rescue services failed to check the apartments adjacent to the one in which the fire had broken out. Smoke spread to these apartments via the structures above them, causing one person to die in one of the apartments; this person was found a little later. One additional person, who had died before the fire for reasons unrelated to it, was found in one of the apartments.

In November 2014, an old wooden multi-storey building was destroyed by fire in Raunistula, Turku. The investigation at the time concluded that escape routes and fire compartmentalisation between apartments in old buildings may be insufficient. The risk of a serious fire is high if the people living in the building include intoxicant abusers or individuals whose mobility is reduced for other reasons.

The Safety Investigation Authority is reissuing two recommendations, the first of which states that the procedures by which the authorities submit fire risk notifications should be improved. According to the second recommendation, a methodology should be established for identifying old buildings with several apartments and substandard fire safety levels, and making such buildings safe. A lifestyle that raises the risk of fire, reduced ability to leave the premises, and insufficient fire safety arrangements in a building are an unfortunate combination. The Safety Investigation Authority also issues two recommendations for the development of the rescue services.

For additional information, please contact Chief Safety Investigator Kai Valonen on +358 2951 50707