Police Investigation Finds No Crime Was Committed In May Fire That Killed Eight In Brno

Six men and two women died when a block of residential portacabins caught fire in Brno on the night of 4 May this year. Credit: South Moravian Fire Service, via Twitter.

Brno, Dec 18 (CTK) – Police have shelved the criminal investigation into a fire in Brno which claimed eight lives this spring, stating that it was not a crime and the cause of the fire was apparently an unfortunate accident, spokesperson Pavel Svab wrote on the police website today.

Six men and two women, all apparently homeless, died when a block of residential portacabins caught fire in Brno on the night of 4 May this year.

“After more than six months of investigation, Brno criminal police have shelved the case of the fire on Plotni,” Svab wrote. “The case was investigated as an offence of endangering the public due to negligence. According to an expert opinion, the six men and two women died as a result of suffocation by combustion fumes.” 

Police were able to establish the identities of seven of the victims, and are still working to establish the identity of the last man.

From the beginning, detectives were working with four possible versions of the investigation: technical failure, intentional act, negligent act and accident.

“A technical fault was ruled out, as the building was disconnected from all utilities and there were also no electrical appliances or power sources on site that could have initiated the fire,” Svab said.

To investigate possible deliberate action, the police interviewed a large number of witnesses and analysed CCTV footage from the vicinity of the scene. “No clues were found to support the version of deliberate arson,” Svab said.

Negligent actions, such as a passer-by dropping a cigarette butt, were ruled out by CCTV footage and witness statements. It is possible that someone inside the building could have spilled a flammable substance, which then ignited, and it is also very likely that the fire was related to a waste cigarette butt inside the building, Svab said.

According to the testimonies, it was common to light candles in the cabin block. It cannot be ruled out that the fire could have started due to drafts. “The fire could have started by accident, which is the most likely version,” Svab said.

The fire on Plotni in May was the fourth most deadly fire in the Czech Republic since 1990.

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