Slovakia: Four Romani girls and their mother die in house fire, police investigate racist comments about the news on their own Facebook page
Five people, four of them children, died in the early morning hours of Friday when their home in eastern Slovakia caught fire. The Czech News Agency was informed of the incident by the firefighter service.
The tragedy happened in the village of Richnava near the town of Krompachy and the reason the fire started is not yet clear. The fire broke out in a four-room one-story building, the roof of which fell in during the blaze.
Slovak Interior Ministry experts were sent to the scene to ascertain the causes of the blaze. Police said a 28-year-old adult and four children between the ages of five and nine perished in the conflagration.
Media reports say the deceased were a mother and her daughters. Slovak President Andrej Kiska and Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini (Smer-SD) have expressed their condolences to the bereaved.
The victims of the blaze are Romani, and comments began to quickly appear beneath the online media articles about the tragedy that were anti-Romani and racist. Such behavior even appeared in discussions on the official Facebook profile of the Slovak Police.
The Slovak Police have intervened forcefully against the racist comments and those writing them. "All of the racist commentaries have been delivered to a specific department and the authors of them can anticipate a summons soon. Their access to the page has been blocked so they no longer have any way to 'erase' their tracks," the Slovak Police stated.
"The biggest 'hero' among them, a 'Patrik Idunk', managed to erase his commentary in time, but we have captured the entire discussion, so he does not have to fear that we might forget about him," the administrator of the police's Facebook profile said. Tragic fires in Romani settlements are common in Slovakia.
For example, last December two people lost their lives during a house fire in the Romani settlement of Jarovnice near the eastern Slovak town of Sabinov. In 2015, during a similar tragedy in the village of Sačurov near Vranov nad Topľou, also in eastern Slovakia, three Romani children died.
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