Explosion in Āgenskalns: resident's story

On the night of December 31, an explosion and ensuing fire destroyed an apartment building in Rīga, leaving more than 20 people homeless. One of the residents, Inga Rozenfelde, shared the experience with Latvian Television  January 5.

December 30 is Inga's birthday. She will now call December 31 her second birthday, as she was saved from an explosion by a hair. The lives of Inga and her husband were rescued by a 60-centimeter-thick wall between her apartment and the exploding one.

A neighbor had called shortly before the explosion, warning about the smell of gas in the house, so Inga's husband went out into the corridor to assess the situation.

“He went out and said, well, yes, there really is! He came in and there was a hollow explosion sound. It was completely dark at the time of the explosion. Then my husband pressed me against the wall.

The roof was ripped off by the explosion. The walls and ceilings began to cave. We were just waiting for them to fall, and you can see - they stopped just above our room,” Inga said.

“The cat was left in the kitchen. And he was screaming,” Inga. With the help of firefighters, Inga and her husband managed to get out on the street. But their cat remained trapped in the apartment between the rubble.

When people were taken to safety, one of the firefighters had gone back to the house to save the cat.

“We were on the street, and he asked, was there really nobody left inside? I said, my cat, I know it's stupid to mention that. He says it's not stupid, I have a cat at home.

He went and didn't even say where, but he carried our kitty a minute later,” Inga said.

Inga and her husband and cat managed to find a temporary place of residence without the help of the municipality. At the moment, they and other residents of Melnsila Street 2 are waiting to recover their belongings. People want clarity on the future of the building. But even if the house is restored, Inga doubts she will return to live there because the memories from that night's events are too fearsome.

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