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Fires strike residential buildings, wind turbine

Firefighters were busy with at least three blazes around southern Finland in bitterly-cold conditions on Friday morning. One fire left a man dead, while another destroyed a wind turbine.

A wind turbine burned for hours in Hamina as firefighters watched helplessly. Image: Mikko-Pekka Purho

Shortly after 8 am on Friday, one person died in a fire in Turku on Friday. The victim was a man of around age 70.

The fire apparently began in his kitchen on Parolanpolku in the Runosmäki suburb.

Earlier in the morning, more than 20 people were evacuated in the south-eastern town of Kouvola due to a fire at a small apartment building.

Several residents suffered smoke inhalation but no more serious injuries were reported. Firefighters were still monitoring the charred multi-dwelling unit on Tyttilammenkatu around midday. They say the early-morning fire began in its upper floor. Thirteen fire and rescue units were on the scene in bitterly cold weather.

Firefighters watch windmill blaze

In Hamina, some 50 kilometres to the south, fire destroyed a wind power generator early Friday. As the blaze occurred at a height of about 100 metres, firefighters were unable to combat it.

Authorities cordoned off the area because of falling parts, but could not reach the burning section, known as the nacelle. The cause of the fire in Paksuniemi has not been determined.

Rescue officials were notified of the blaze at 1.35 am. The fire had mostly burned out by 6.30, Kymenlaakso duty fire chief Jukka Ruuskanen tells Yle.

The turbine is owned by the municipal power utility, Haminan Energia. Operations Manager Heikki Lappalainen says it is too early to estimate the financial losses, but that the turbine was completely destroyed.

He adds that the incident will not affect availability of electricity as the region remains in the grip of a cold snap, with the mercury around -20 degrees Celsius. The company says its six-unit wind power park will be shut down temporarily for safety reasons.

The only previously publicised wind turbine fire in Finland occurred in 2004. It destroyed a windmill on an island near Uusikaupunki in the south-west. In that case, firefighters dropped 20,000 litres of water from a helicopter onto the fire, which was at a height of 70 metres.

3.03 pm: Updated throughout.