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Monday, June 17, 2024

Calamities galore on a sunny day

UPDATED: The sun was shining in the Oslo area on a typical spring day, but all was far from calm for local emergency crews. A storm of unrelated alarms descended on police and firefighters from Drammen in the west to Follo in the southeast, and meanwhile, all train traffic through the capital was at a standstill, leading to major transit disruption.

The problems on Wednesday began in the morning, when firefighters in Bærum, west of Oslo, were summoned to a blaze in a large residential complex at Rykkin. More than 100 persons had to be evacuated from their homes when the fire that began in one flat ignited the roof and it started to collapse. Experts said the building was likely to be rendered uninhabitable, and by mid-afternoon, residents were told they’d lost their homes.

Then came reports that the local police station in Sandvika had to be evacuated, after a resident wandered in carrying a box that contained around a kilo of dynamite. “The person simply wanted to turn in the dynamite,” a police spokeswoman told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “We determined the dynamite to be of a a nature that required immediate evacuation.” She claimed no threat was involved in the episode, and no one was injured.

Around noon, NRK was reporting that all train traffic was halted through Oslo’s Central Station (Oslo-S), because of signal problems. That forced beleaguered railway NSB to press a bus fleet into service, but travel was nonetheless disrupted for thousands of passengers, and work was underway to get the signal problem fixed before the afternoon commuter rush set in. The express train to the airport at Gardermoen, Flytoget, was also affected and traffic chaos continued long into the evening.

By mid-afternoon, police in Drammen were responding to a bomb threat in the center of town. Police told NRK that “someone” called in the threat at 12:50pm to a firm located on the main street (Storgata). Police evacuated the building and were searching it with dogs and special equipment around 3pm. No bomb was found.

Meanwhile, a woman was found dead in her home at Nordberg in Oslo and police initially suspected she’d been murdered but later downplayed the probability. It was feared be the second murder of a woman in Oslo in as many days, after a mother of two small children was killed in her home at Torshov on Tuesday. Her husband was under arrest.

And in Follo, southeast of Oslo, a woman was critically injured in another fire at her home at Vevelstadåsen. Six fire trucks and 14 firefighters responded to the call, and found the woman in her 50s overcome by smoke in her apartment in the multi-family building. She died on the way to the hospital. The fire was believed to have started in a water heater.

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