Fire in abandoned Rīga art nouveau building Tuesday evening

A high-hazard fire broke out in a building in Rīga on Brīvības Street 88 on Tuesday evening, which led to restrictions on traffic at the intersection of Brīvības and Matīsa Street, the State Fire and Rescue Service (VUGD) reported. Firefighters managed to contain the spread of the flames and traffic was restored around 20:00.

At 17:30 The VUGD received information that a fire had broken out in a semi-unmanaged six-storey apartment building on Brīvības Street in Riga. On arrival at the scene, firefighters rescuers found smoke coming from the roof of the building.

More than 30 firefighter rescuers worked at the scene, with six vehicles, the VUGD said.

At 19:45 am, the spread of the flames was contained, the VUGD said. The firefighters finished work after 23:00.

The team's work was hampered by the complex layout of the loft and upper floors. Several openings were made in the building to get to the source of the fire. A total of 258 square meters were burning in the attic as well as 5 square meters on the sixth floor.

Built in 1910 and designed by architect Konstantins Pēkšēns, this Art Nouveau house is one of the largest and most spectacular rental houses of its time in Riga, which has been mostly empty and untended for years, namely, occasionally tenants are on the first floor of the house, while the upper ones stand empty. The building has been nicknamed 'the Art Nouveau Giant'.

The structure occupies two plots of land in the corner of the block, surrounding a courtyard that had been designed as a commercial passage.  In 2020, the owners of the building were SIA “MJ Development”, which promised to turn the house into a five-star hotel, investing about 25 million euros, but no progress in the project has been observed. According to “” information, the owner of “MJ Development” is Lithuanian citizen Ofika Davojana. The company has worked with a turnover of 0.23 million euros and a loss of less than 100,000 euros in 2022.

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