Residents confused after evacuation from dangerous building in Rīga

Take note – story published 1 year and 2 months ago

Residents of two adjacent buildings on Krišjāņa Valdemāra Street were promptly evacuated on Saturday due to cracks in the walls. The buildings were declared hazardous and the street closed. The residents are confused about the suddenness of the evacuation as the cracks have been there for years, Latvian Radio and Latvian Television reported on February 19.

"These cracks are like that for a minimum of five or six years. Exactly like that. Or even older. We have it even in photographs," said a resident.

"Where did it all start? Because we're sitting at home and they are suddenly throwing us out. As if something terrible had happened. But nothing has changed, no one has heard any noises, nothing has ruptured. What's at the bottom of this, why was it all yesterday?" ask the people.

Rīga Municipal Police spokesman Andrejs Aronovs told residents that the police received an application Saturday from the State Fire and Rescue Service (VUGD) regarding the hazards in the building, which was apparently informed by a resident.

“They called the police. The police came here. In carrying out the survey, the VUGD decided to evacuate the population in relation to potential hazards. Then a building inspector who surveyed the buildings was invited, who decided yesterday that the operation of these buildings was not possible at the moment,” Andrejs Aronovs said.

Following a meeting of the services responsible, Rīga Mayor Mārtiņš Staķis said that there are three important tasks at the moment in relation to the buildings: providing support to the residents of the buildings, preventing the hazards of buildings and understanding what to do with the traffic, which is currently closed on the Valdemāra Street section from Šarlotes to Alojas street.

“Today a certified engineer is heading in here, specializing directly in this. We expect his conclusion as soon as possible, but it usually takes even several weeks. It is the primary thing for us to say what we are doing here with traffic, because this is one of the urban arteries, public transport goes here, and it will affect the population of the city. At the moment, there has been a reorientation of traffic on other streets, it is clear that this is more such a crisis solution,” said Staķis.

The manager of the building, Rīgas namu pārvaldnieks (RNP) is as confused as the residents. RNP's board chairman Igors Trubko said that the apartment owners had wanted to carry out repairworks of the building a couple of years prior, but couldn't get the majority vote. The building had been inspected before and no major issues were found, so he does not understand why the residents have now been thrown out.

Architect Jānis Lejnieks proposed that the building's state might have deteriorated by increasing traffic intensity and also that some of these buildings hold trolleybus wires. 

33 people have been evacuated from buildings on Valdemāra Street 117 and 119, three of whom have requested local government support for accommodation.

It is also possible for evacuated residents to apply for crisis benefits. For one person, the allowance is equal to one minimum wage in a country of €620 per person or €1240 per household.

VUGD said that 33 people, a dog, and two cats were evacuated from two adjacent buildings in cooperation with Riga municipal police.

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