Wayward rocket costs police chief

Bookmark and Share

The police chief in Drammen, west of Oslo, only meant to celebrate that the city was 200 years old. Instead, she wound up with a big fine for unwittingly starting a fire.

Police Chief Christine Fossen fired off a signal rocket that was supposed to land in the river that flows through town. She also was acting at the request of the organizing committee that was putting on the birthday party for Drammen, which has undergone a major facelift and transformation into a popular riverfront city.

Fossen’s rocket, though, crashed into the roof of a multi-family dwelling in Drammen and set it on fire. That led to a major fire-fighting effort and the evacuation of four households, all of whom have since had to find alternative lodgings.

Fossen apologized profusely for the misguided rocket and repeated her regret this week, but now she regrets something else as well: Police officials at a higher level have fined her NOK 10,000 (about USD 1,800).

“As police chief, I take responsibility for what happened,” she claims. She’s not sure, though, whether she’ll accept the fine or appeal. “If there was something wrong with the rocket, or whether I fired too low, I don’t know,” she told a local newspaper. “I followed the instructions I received.”

Views and News staff