House of Romani family in Czech Republic burns down: Arson, or unfortunate accident? Police are investigating
On Friday, 15 May a fire broke out in the home of a Romani family in the village of Veltěže near Louny, Czech Republic. Local firefighters from Veltěže as well as firefighters from Cítoliby, Černčice, Louny itself and Postoloprty responded to the scene.
It is not yet clear how the blaze arose. According to the family, somebody set fire to the pergola in front of the house, from which the fire traveled to the building itself.
The family has posted messages to social media asking for aid. Police are investigating the cause of the blaze.
"On Friday afternoon at about 15:00 we left for a wake in Liberec, because we had a death on my husband's side of the family. Before we left we checked to make sure nothing was turned on," Helena Přibylová told news server Romea.cz.
"At around 11 in the evening the police were calling us and people were writing to me on Facebook that our house was on fire," she said. Firefighters and police were already intervening at the scene at that time.
Father Igor Přibyl, mother Helena Přibylová, their daughters aged two and 15 and their nine-year-old son live in the home. According to information from the family, the pergola in front of the house first went up in flames and the fire then spread from it to part of the house.
"In the village it is being said that the pergola caught fire from a firecracker that somebody threw over the fence," Igor Přibyl told Romea.cz. Another hypothesis as to the cause of the blaze, according to Helena Přibylová, is that the pergola caught fire from a cigarette butt.
The family does not believe the cigarette butt version. "It's not possible it would have caught fire from a cigarette, it would not have burned so fast in that case," Přibylová said.
"We don't know why somebody did this. We don't know if somebody wanted to get rid of us, if young people were getting out of hand here and it was an accident, or if it was racially motivated. We don't know," Přibylová said.
The causes of the blaze were immediately investigated by police. "Currently the Louny police force is undertaking the steps to verify the circumstances and causes of the fire in collaboration with the firefighter rescue corps," police spokesperson Ludmila Světláková told news server Romea.cz.
The community of Veltěže, through Mayor Věra Posledníková, provided the family accommodation over the weekend in the conference room of the local authority, where they slept on mattresses. On Sunday the family returned to their burned-out home, where currently just one bedroom and the kitchen are habitable.
Aid to the family was also offered by Karel Karika, the lead candidate for the Pirate Party in the Regional Authority elections in the Ústecký Region. "I was immediately at the family's place Sunday afternoon. They desperately needed psychological support. Now they need building materials to repair the roof, the windows and the interior appointments. They welcome any aid and volunteer assistnace," he told Romea.cz.
"The Facebook page Žhář z Veltěže [Arsonist from Veltěže] has also been created and updated information is being published there," Karika said. News server Romea.cz will continue to follow the entire case and ROMEA TV will broadcast directly from the scene tomorrow.
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