22 Feb 2011

Fire kills 10 at home for disabled children

6:29 pm on 22 February 2011

A fire has swept through a home for disabled children in the western Estonian town of Haapsalu, killing 10 children.

Nine adults and 37 children were inside the wooden building when the fire started, according to rescue official Viktor Saaremets. The cause of the blaze has not yet been established, the BBC reports.

The Estonian government met for an emergency meeting and declared Monday a nationwide day of mourning.

"The tragic accident in the Haapsalu orphanage shocked the whole of Estonia today," Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves said in a brief statement.

The newspaper Postimees showed pictures of victims being carried out from a window, as thick smoke billowed from the roof.

The orphanage was opened as a home for disabled children in 1950, according to its website.