Tomorrow, the police and the rescue service will start investigating the cause of the fire in a senior house in Jyväskylä damaged by fire, Pauli Nurminen, the on-call manager of the Central Finland Rescue Department, tells STT.

A fire broke out in the Ilona senior house in Palokan on Friday, which was once brought under control, but the fire broke out again at night. A total of 168 people were evacuated from the three houses.

The building, which was ravaged by fire, was completed in 2018. According to Nurminen, it is rare for the fire to spread again in such a new house.

Nurminen said at a press conference at the Central Finland Rescue Department that the fire spread exceptionally fast.

- I would see that without rapid evacuation, human lives would have been lost, he said.

According to Nurminen, rescuing people was the primary goal and extinguishing the fire was secondary, which can be seen as material damage. According to Nurminen, the evacuation cost quite a lot of resources because, for example, bedridden patients had to be transferred.

The roof was in flames when the units arrived

The fire started from the top of the middle building from the balcony and spread through the roof structures to the entire roof. The roof was in flames when the first units arrived at the site, Nurminen says. The flames were visible tens of miles away.

The flames also spread rapidly downwards. The fire progressed through the central part connecting the two buildings to another building.

The roof in the middle had to be demolished virtually completely to bring the fire under control.

At this stage, Nurminen does not provide estimates of the cause of the fire or the reason for its rapid spread.

The Accident Investigation Board (Otkes) will decide on a possible start of a fire investigation on Monday. Otkes monitors the progress of investigations by the rescue service and the police.

Accommodations were arranged during the night

The City of Jyväskylä's social emergency service was helping residents and arranging temporary accommodation. SPR volunteers, representatives of the volunteer rescue service Vapepa and the employees of the crisis center Mobile were also assisted.

Ulla Kuittu, Director of Social Services of the City of Jyväskylä, said at the press conference that some residents were able to arrange their own accommodation. The medical center Mehiläinen's care services placed all its residents in other units. Residents were also housed in the city’s own units and on the premises of private actors. In addition, some of those who lost their homes were placed in hotel accommodation. Accommodation was arranged for everyone during the night.

According to the rescue service, residents are not yet able to enter their homes during the investigation.

- For investigative and safety reasons, people are not yet allowed on the properties, Nurminen tells STT.