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Snow 'not to blame' for Laukaa roof collapse

Investigations have begun into a roof collapse at a Central Finland riding school. Snow levels in the area are normal or smaller than usual.

Ratsastuskoulun maneesin romahtanut katto ja rakenteet Laukaassa.
The Laukaa riding school after the accident. Image: Janne Nousiainen / Lehtikuva

The National Police Commissioner Mikko Paatero rejected the idea that heavy snow could be to blame for the accident.

"That is not the root cause," said Paatero. "Snow is never responsible, people are responsible. It is the building owner’s responsibility to worry about making sure the building is in such a condition that something like this doesn’t happen."

One child was killed in the tragedy, and three others injured along with one adult. Paatero emphasised that no conclusions had been drawn, but said the investigation would be thorough.

"This kind of thing should not happen at all, that is the starting point," said Paatero, who is Finland’s top policeman. "The Safety Investigation Authority and the police will now find out what happened."

"Public records show the depth of snow cover, and according to those there is a normal or smaller than normal amount of snow in Laukaa," said Kai Valonen, head of investigations at the Safety Investigation Authority.

"Roofs should not collapse under that kind of burden."

The duty firemaster in Laukaa, Kalle Hakamäki, said that there was in any case a lot of snow.

"Rescue work was challenging because of the thick snow," said Hakamäki. "A 1,700 square metre steel roof had collapsed completely. We were forced to order a heavy-duty crane which was needed to clear a few trees and the yard."

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