Fire in 'Cat House' in Old Rīga

A fire broke out in Rīga's Old Town on Tuesday, January 30, in the so-called Cat House (Kaķu nams). Extensive rescue forces were involved in extinguishing the fire, the State Fire and Rescue Service (VUGD) reported.

At 11:53 VUGD received information that smoke was visible from the five-story building at 10/12 Meistaru Street in Rīga. On arrival at the scene, firefighters found fire inside the building.

Due to the spread of the flames and the complex design of the building, extensive rescue forces were involved in the extinguishing works – around 30 firefighters with eight firetrucks and two ladders.

VUGD said pedestrian and vehicle movement was restricted near the scene.

“Honestly, we thought it was a false alarm once again because there is a false alarm every now and then in this building, but this time it turned out to be a real thing,” said Santa, an employee of the Latvian Language Agency located in the building.

After two hours of work, at 14:04, firefighters managed to contain the flames, which had spread across all floors of the building, the facade, and also in the backyard in an area of 262 square meters.

The second floor and facade of the building have suffered the most.

“In principle, a large proportion of the premises are uninhabited, with offices predominating. [..] There are no injured people and the premises have also not suffered greatly,” said Kristaps Kolbergs, chief of the VUGD operational Management Board.

The fire likely broke out in the courtyard and spread through the facade wall and communication shafts.

The Cat House is one of the most well-known Art Nouveau houses in Old Riga. It has taken its name thanks to the cats on the corner towers of the building.

The National Heritage Administration said it will assess the state of the building in detail when it is allowed to access affected parts of the building.


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