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    Suicide note and new facts in the gas explosion case in Katowice

    Two people – a mother and daughter – died last Friday after a gas explosion and the collapse of an apartment building in Katowice. The father remains in a serious condition in the hospital. As revealed, before the tragedy, a ‘suicide note’ was sent to journalists in which the victims of the explosion complained about financial problems and fear for the future. The prosecution is investigating the causes and circumstances of the incident.

    On Friday 27 January this year, at 20 Bednorza Street in Katowice-Szopienice, two people died and several were taken to hospital with injuries. A mother and daughter died in the gas explosion in the tenement, and the father of the family is in serious condition in hospital. Two girls were also taken to hospital with injuries, one with both legs broken and the other with facial injuries. The four-storey house, which housed the vicarage of the Evangelical Augsburg parish, was completely destroyed. Its demolition is in progress. 

    The explosion also damaged the neighbouring buildings housing Special Primary School No. 55 and the J. Rymer Food Industry School Complex. The children are being taught remotely. For the time being, services are also not being conducted at the Evangelical-Augsburg Church of the Saviour in Katowice-Szopienice. 

    No official information provided

    “Intensive efforts are underway by the prosecution and the police to clarify the circumstances of this incident,” attorney Marta Zawada-Dybek, press spokesperson of the District Prosecutor’s Office in Katowice, explains.

    The note from the family, two of whom died and one of whom is in hospital, has been sent to journalists. The document has been secured for the purposes of the ongoing investigation. However, the circumstances raised in it, namely those relating specifically to the dispute that existed between the priest and the family who lived in the parish and worked there, had already been known since Saturday by the prosecutor’s office.

    The letter was probably sent two days before the tragedy. It is not known whether it was actually sent by the victims of the explosion and whether it describes the situation. The letter, excerpts of which were published yesterday by Polsat TV, points to the difficult living condition of the victims of the tragedy. The content of the letter suggests that Friday’s tragedy may have been an extended suicide.

    “A man in hospital was questioned as a witness yesterday. A post-mortem of the victims of the explosion will be carried out today. The case is complex and labour-intensive. The public prosecutor’s office has findings, but at this stage of the case it is not providing information about them,” adds attorney Zawada-Dybek.

    “We pray and ask for your prayers”

    After the tragedy in Katowice, many institutions offered to help the victims, such as the city of Katowice and the authorities of the Silesian Voivodship. Evangelical Augsburg parishes in the Silesian Voivodship are also collecting donations for those in need. Psychological care has also been provided to those affected.

    “In connection with the tragic events that took place on Friday 27 January this year, as well as various media reports, we would like to inform you that the relevant services, with whom we cooperate on an ongoing basis, are conducting activities in this regard. We would like to emphasise that the community of the Evangelical-Augsburg Parish of the Saviour in Katowice-Szopienice has always supported those in need. We give spiritual help, we participate in charity actions, we offer shelter,” wrote the clergy of the parish on social media.

    “In this difficult moment, we pray and ask you to continue to pray especially for those in the hospital, the clergy and their loved ones, the family of the deceased, all those affected and the entire Szopienice parish,” they added.  

    Extended suicide is also homicide

    “I am following this case closely,” Barbara Prusinowska-Opalska, a psychotherapist and addiction therapy specialist from Sosnowiec told Niezależ

    “The name augmented suicide is not quite adequate, it also partly comes under the heading of homicide, not one person dies, but several. Here, many people have suffered. If one were to focus only on the term extended suicide one would have to say that people see no other way out of the situation. You have to be very desperate and plan the whole thing. This is what the lady from the tenement on Bednorza Street did. If it is true that she sent a letter to the media about this. She decided to take her own life, disregarding the fact that others might also die. Two children are still in the hospital. I think this does not show that anyone has compassion for other victims. In other cases of extended suicides, when young mothers with children decided to take this step, it showed more that the women did not see any other solution, that they had a feeling – that they were left alone and the only thing that was good for them and the children was to die rather than live on and fight. This was determined both by difficult economic conditions and the powerlessness of helping bodies, such as MOPS (Municipal Social Welfare Center – ed.), or the disbelief that the ‘Blue Card’ had any meaning. Here we have an elderly lady who decides to destroy an entire apartment building,” she points out.

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