"A high-hazard fire has broken out at a production plant, creating a lot of smoke which can harm human health. VUGD brigades are working on the extinguishing of the fire," said VUGD on Twitter.
❗️Mārupes novada Mārupes pagasta iedzīvotāji, aizveriet māju logus, durvis, izslēdziet ventilāciju!— VUGD (@ugunsdzeseji) February 7, 2023
🔥Ražošanas ēkā izcēlies paaugstinātas bīstamības ugunsgrēks, radot plašu sadūmojumu, kas var nodarīt kaitējumu veselībai! Dzēšanas darbos piesaistīti plaši VUGD spēki.
Eyewitness accounts on social media showed the burning building was the Edge Autonomy Riga unmanned aircraft (drone) production plant (Jaunbrīdagi 1, Mārupe). Social media quickly filled with other images and videos from passers-by.
In addition to a large number of firefighters from the VUGD, nearby Rīga Airport sent a brigade of its own to assist. Airport operations were not affected by the fire. Municipal police controlled traffic regulations in the area. Members of the public were requested by officials to stay away from the site.
According to the State Emergency Medical Service (NMPD), two people were taken to the hospital and one received medical assistance onsite.
By 20:00 the VUGD said the amount of smoke coming from the site had significantly reduced and absorbent pads had been placed in nearby ditches to reduce contamination.
The State Police will investigate the cause of the fire at the hi-tech facility, which remains unclear. A spokeswoman for the State Police Madara Šeršņova said initial information did not point towards arson but that a full investigation has been started to find out precisely what happened.
Just two weeks ago, LSM reported on Edge Autonomy's drone deliveries to Ukraine following a public donation drive. Inevitably, once the flames have been overcome, attention is likely to focus on the cause of the fire and whether it was an accident or something more sinister.
In October last year, a U.S. Congressional delegation paid a visit to the company, as LSM reported at the time. The promotional video below gives a tour of the facility.