Owner Will Have One Month to Demolish Fire-Ravaged House Skip to content

Owner Will Have One Month to Demolish Fire-Ravaged House

By Yelena

Bræðaborgarstígur fire
Photo: Jelena Ciric. The house on Bræðraborgarstígur where three were killed in a fire, June 2020.

The owner of a Reykjavík house, now in ruins after a fatal fire, will be ordered to demolish the building’s remains within 30 days, RÚV reports. The Vesturbær Neighbourhood Residents’ Council has expressed concern that impending winter weather could knock over the compromised structure. The house owner’s lawyer has said the building cannot be demolished due to an insurance dispute.

The fire that occurred at the house last June resulted in three deaths and is considered the deadliest fire in Reykjavík’s history. A man was immediately apprehended following the fire and has since been charged with manslaughter and arson. The house was being rented for use as workers’ housing and had been investigated by media for unacceptable living conditions as far back as 2015.

Read More: Fire Sparks Conversation About Working Conditions Facing Foreigners

Owner Cites Insurance Dispute

Skúli Sveinsson, the house owner’s lawyer, told reporters it is not possible to demolish the house as there is an ongoing dispute between the owner and his insurance company on whether the house requires demolition or simply renovation. The City of Reykjavík’s Buliding Inspector Nikulás Úlfar Másson says the dispute is irrelevant to authorities. “Our duty is to ensure that buildings don’t pose a danger to their environment, can harm or even cause health problems to passersby or those living in their vicinity,” Nikulás stated. “We have been monitoring the scene, with the net that covers the house and the fence, and all of that has been exemplary so far but now of course we can expect all kinds of weather that could simply destroy the house. We don’t truly really know what condition it’s in.”

“Now it’s time for us to send a letter to the owner and ask him to demolish the house within 30 days or come up with an explanation as to what he plans to do with the ruins,” Nikulás stated.

Both the house’s owner and the man who has been charged for the fire are expected to face legal proceedings from the families of the victims. All three people who died in the fire were Polish citizens.

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