Somali community mourns deaths of mother, four children in Vantaa fire

The Somali community in Vantaa is grieving the deaths of a mother and her four children following the outbreak of a fire in an apartment in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Said Mohammed, a spokesperson for the East Vantaa Somali Cultural Association, told Finnish news agency STT that there is currently very limited information available about the fire and how it started, but the association was working to help support the community during this time of grief.

Mohammed said he personally knows the father of the family, who managed to escape the blaze and was treated in hospital on Sunday.

He added that, as far as he was aware, at least some of the family’s four children — who were all aged under 10 — were born in Finland.

“The father of the family has lived here for a long time, probably 30 years,” Mohammed said, adding that the rest of the family had lived in Finland for a shorter period of time, about nine years.

The East Vantaa Somali Cultural Association was founded in 1998, according to its website, to serve the Somali community in the region.

Incident to be discussed in Vantaa schools, daycares

Ilkka Kalo, head of the City of Vantaa’s primary education unit, told STT that the incident will be discussed at kindergartens and schools in the city on Monday.

A message was sent to school principals and daycare centre bosses on Sunday, Kalo said, about how authorities should handle the matter — adding that the incident should be discussed with children and young people as much as they themselves want and need.

Flags in the Hakunila area of Vantaa will be flown at half mast on Monday in memory of the five victims of the blaze.

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