A firefighter extinguishing fire at the ruins of a hostel in Kolari, Finnish Lapland, on 13 February 2024. Two people have been confirmed dead and one missing in connection with the fire, with police adding that also the missing person likely lost their life in the incident. (Stringer – Str / Lehtikuva)


INVESTIGATORS from the Safety Investigation Authority (OTKES) are continuing to look into the deadly hostel fire that occurred in Finnish Lapland early on Tuesday.

Tiina Bieber, the director of communications at OTKES, on Thursday stated to YLE that with the cause of the fire still unknown, the investigators will start eliminating different ignition mechanisms one by one.

Two people have been confirmed dead – one of whom is from Finland and the other from Central Europe – and one missing in connection with the fire of Silver Fox, a 36-bed hostel in Äkäslompolo, Kolari. Also the missing person is presumed to have died, according to a press release from Lapland Police Department.

Police on Thursday also communicated that no crimes are presently suspected in the incident.

Bieber on Thursday said to the public broadcasting company that one area of interest for the investigators is the possible role of electric bicycles. Helsingin Sanomat has published a photo that shows bicycles on the porch of the hostel, as the hostel was engulfed in flames. Silver Fox states on its website that it has rented electric bicycles and organised cycling trips to its guests.

“We’ve taken the bicycles into consideration and are looking into this viewpoint as well,” Bieber commented to YLE.

The public broadcasting company reminded that electric bicycles that are being charged have caused fires in recent months, including one that resulted in the death of a woman in Kouvola in October 2023. No fires linked to electric bicycles are presently under investigation at OTKES, according to Bieber.

The fire devoured the two-storey hostel completely, but 31 guests managed to escape the building on their own. According to police, most of the hostel guests were from Central Europe.

OTKES is expected to unveil its report of the incident in roughly a month, but any possible safety-related observations will be made public earlier. Also police have indicated that their investigation will take months.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT