House exploded while burning

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A Norwegian man working in the construction industry and his son narrowly escaped death, but not total destruction, when their home exploded after catching fire this week. The man later confirmed he had been storing dynamite in his cellar.

Neighbours in the suburban town of Vestby, south of Oslo, reported waking up to a series of small explosions at around 2am on Tuesday. “At first we thought we were hearing fireworks,” one neighbour told newspaper Aftenposten. “But then it really boomed. Our whole house shook.”

The explosion completely destroyed the man’s home, leaving a crater in the ground where it had stood, and severely damaged several other houses in the neighbourhood. Firefighters said the man and his son escaped and no one was injured.

Police evacuated the area, for fear of more explosions.

Police initially claimed it wasn’t illegal to store dynamite in Norway “if your papers are in order.” Steffen Øvstedal of the Follo Police District told Aftenposten that “as I understand it, dry dynamite isn’t dangerous but can explode if it comes in contact with water.” When the fire broke out, that may be what happened.

Police later corrected themselves, and the state Direktoratet for samfunnssikkerhet (the agency in charge of civil protection and emergency planning) also stressed that it is indeed illegal to store dynamite at home. The homeowner reportedly used the dynamite in his building business and now faces legal consequences, in addition to unhappy neighbours.

Views and News staff