The former Re&Re work manager of the construction project on Priedaines Street testified in court during the hearing of the Zolitude tragedy criminal case on Tuesday, 6 September. However, he could not answer most questions related to documentation. The court also concluded there were a lot of uncertainties in his testimony in relation to the maximum load of the building’s roof.
He testified that an alarm was sounded at the end of the work day. He went to see Maxima security guard, who told him everything was fine. After that, the man went back to work.
The witness then decided to look around but found nothing to determine why the alarm went off. He then went to see the guard again. The guard said he contacted a representative of the supervisory company and turned off the alarm. Neither of them could tell why the alarm activated in the first place.
The former Re&Re employee told the court that the alarm remained active all the time he and another person were looking around the building – approximately 40 minutes. The witness left the site at approximately 17:40.
When asked if the building and store had a single alarm system, the witness explained that there was a single pump station. With that, it can be said there was a single alarm system as well. The witness had also inspected the cellar, but not all of it. According to him, the pump was working non-stop. Nevertheless, he did not inform the security guards about his suspicions about the pressure going down in the fire-extinguishing system.
The witness also said that during the construction of the second building, it was necessary to remove the roof’s sheets, but not the store area. It is possible that this area of the roof may have experienced a short flooding. The man told the court he was not aware of any cracks in the walls and roof of the store.
He emphasized that no heavy-duty equipment was used on the roof – materials were transported there using a crane. He also said the allowed weight limit on the roof was never exceeded.
Lawyer Arturs Zvejsalnieks asked the witness which documents he went through before commencing work on the roof. The witness said he went through the documents of the second stage of construction.
When asked if he even had the project’s plan, the witness replied by saying he ‘cannot remember’. When asked about vibratory rammers and whether or not it was even allowed to put them on the roof, the witness could not provide a clear answer.
The witness could not answer most questions related to documents and plans for the building, saying he could not remember.
The construction journal was being kept at the construction site, in a closed office, the witness said, adding that subsidiaries were allowed to access the documents only in the presence of Re&Re representatives.
The accused construction engineer Ivars Sergets asked the witness a question about load capacity and why the numbers differed in his testimony and the testimony of interviewed subsidiaries. The witness could not answer that question as well. In his pre-court investigation testimony, the witness had noted that the allowed weight was 1.6 tons per 1 m2. On Tuesday, however, he was presented with a clarification document that stated a different weight limit – 2 tons per 1 m2.
Sergets asked how the witness could control the pressure on the roof if he did not know where it was safe to put pressure on the roof. The witness replied by saying that he tried distributing weight equally across the roof to avoid putting too much pressure on a single section.
Lawyer Dmitry Skackovs tried to find out where the witness got his information about allowed weight limits. The former Re&Re worker mentioned ‘having been told’ that information at some point. Zvejsalnieks turned the court’s attention to this fact, emphasizing and asking the witness if he truly knew the actual limit.
The witness was being interviewed throughout most of the day.