Firefighters in Riga Respond to Deadly Blaze at Illegal Hostel

At least eight people died and several others were injured after a fire broke out at an illegal sixth-floor hostel in Latvia’s capital city Riga on Wednesday morning, April 28, officials said.

Footage shared on Twitter shows firefighters on the ground at 8 Merkela Street on Wednesday morning.

Officials said they first received calls about the fire around 4:43 am. The Riga City Council reported a total of 24 people were evacuated from the building.

According to Riga officials, the hostel was “on the regular route of the Riga Municipal Police,” and that several penalties had been issued for smoking, drug use, drinking alcohol in a public place, living without a declared address, and noncompliance with mask regulations.

“We see that the consequences of illegal business can be very tragic. Not only tax fraud, but also lost lives. Rapid action is needed to give the services more power to take action against such illegal ‘entrepreneurs’,” Riga City Council Chairman Martins Staķis said. Credit: @MarissaAngell via Storyful