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Wednesday 13.12.2017 | Name days: Veldze, Lūcija
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State Fire and Rescue Service uncovers years of neglect at Riga Castle

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUThree and a half years prior to the devastating fire at Riga Castle, the State Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) had uncovered and number of serious fire safety violations on the premises used for the needs of the State President’s Chancellery. Most of the responsibility for these violations falls on Valsts nekustamie īpašumi (State Real Estate), according to information from Pietiek.

The report of SFRS’ inspection mentioned nearly 30 different violations. Violations were noted in regard to water supply, fire alarms and lack of thorough inspections.

The service has concluded that there was no inspection of the attic of Riga Castle for the possibility of a fire ever breaking out there. On top of that, the attic was not fully equipped with a proper fire alarm system.

Problems were uncovered with the water supply system. SFRS specialists found malfunctions and damage on the pipes that supply water to the fire extinguishing system. Fire extinguisher system’s pumps have not been thoroughly inspected in a long time.

Other violations were noted in the attic section – three years ago, SFRS had reported that “wires and cables with exposed isolation were being used in the attic and other sections of the building”. Measurements of the building’s earthing and lightning protection equipment were not properly performed as well.

Serious violations were noted in the general command structure: the building’s civil protection plan was never coordinated and approved. Employees were not properly trained in matters of civil protection. Employees of the State President’s Chancellery and Security Service had no bilateral cooperation in regard to evacuation efforts.

Finally, in its report, SFRS mentions that the castle had no action plan in the event of a fire. On top of that, there was no training provided for employees in order to prepare for such an event.

When answering questions of the portal, the official owner of Riga Castle – Valsts nekustamie īpašumi – had previously tried to create the impression that the State President’s Chancellery is responsible for fire safety. However, documents state otherwise.

According to the explanation of Chairwoman of Valsts nekustamo īpašumi Baiba Strautmane, the company is not always responsible for its serviced state property. Such is the case with Riga Castle: “According to the conditions of the agreement for rent of the real estate property located in Riga, Pils Square 3, the following of fire safety regulations is the responsibility of the tenant.”

In 2012, SFRS planned to perform a full fire safety inspection at the State President’s Chancellery. However, a reply was received from the aforementioned institution saying that construction work had been initiated following a renovation project.

The inspection of the State President’s Chancellery’s reconstruction project’s progress was planned for November 2013.

Ref: 102.109.109.8745


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