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Estonia children's home fire kills 10

Posted on 20th February 2011 at 22:07pm


A fire has swept through a home for disabled children in the western Estonian town of Haapsalu, killing 10 children, officials say.

Nine adults and 37 children were inside the wooden building when the fire started at 1230 GMT, rescue official Viktor Saaremets said.

By the time firefighters arrived at the scene, the building was completely in flames, AP reported him as saying.

The cause of the blaze has not yet been established.

'Shocked'

The Estonian government has met for an emergency meeting and declared Monday a nationwide day of mourning.

"The tragic accident in the Haapsalu orphanage shocked the whole of Estonia today," Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves said in a brief statement.

Estonian newspaper Postimees showed pictures of victims being carried out from a window, as thick smoke billowed from the roof.

Local media reported that firefighters took two hours to bring the blaze under control.

Mr Saaremets said the other children were evacuated to a nearby building. One child was injured.

The orphanage was opened as a home for disabled children in 1950, according to its website.

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