The fire was exceptional in Finnish conditions. The last time a fire killed five people was in 2008.

Photograph: TONY ÖHBERG/FINLAND TODAY

A mother and four children died in a devastating fire in Hakunila, Vantaa on Sunday morning.

The police received a call to the scene at around 03:22. The apartment building is six stories high, and the burning apartment was on the first floor.

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The mother and the children were rescued from the apartment, but all five died despite attempts to revive them. The children were under 10 years old.

The fire is believed to have started in a sauna, according to the police, who spoke at a press conference on Sunday afternoon.

The police said, “there are indications that the sauna contained ‘material’ that does not typically belong in a sauna.”

No crime is suspected in the case.

The emergency services, according to authorities, received several emergency calls overnight in connection with the fire.

The police said that the father of the family who survived the fire could also call the emergency center.

Authorities have said there was a fire alarm in the apartment, but there has been no word yet on whether the alarm was operational.

The victims were Finnish citizens with an immigrant background. The tragedy has shocked the Somali community in Vantaa. A representative of the East Vantaa Somali Culture Association described the victims as “just an ordinary family.”

The Hakunila-based Somali Association is to hold a meeting today to plan how to support the community in the coming days in the face of great grief.

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