Flames gutted the popular restaurant of a hotel in downtown Levanger, northeast of Trondheim, during the night, forcing the evacuation of hotel guests and ruining the busy Christmas party season for both holidaymakers and the hotel-restaurant operators. There were no injuries.
“This couldn’t have happened at a worse time,” Knut Strugstad, who runs Restaurant No39 adjoining Levanger’s Thon Hotel Backlund, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) Friday morning. “Our reservation book was full through next Thursday.”
2,000 guests affected
The fire completely destroyed the restaurant and 29 guests were evacuated from the hotel. Holiday parties for around 2,000 guests have been abruptly cancelled. Strugstad told NRK that the restaurant was likely to be closed for a long time.
The first alarms for the fire rang at 1:37am and firefighters had it under control within an hour. Witnesses told NRK that flames shot out of the building towards the hotel and restaurant’s backyard, and smoke enveloped the property.
Strugstad said the fire is believed to have started in the restaurant, behind a counter and possibly in an ice-making machine. He arrived early at the scene and was forced to watch flames engulf his business.
“This is the worst I’ve experienced in my life,” he told NRK.
Arnstein Kvelstad of the local fire and emergency service agreed the fire was dramatic. In addition to destroying the restaurant it also left the 65-room hotel with a lot of smoke damage.
“It was dramatic before we knew that we had control over all the guests,” Kvelstad told NRK. “Fortunately everyone had taken the fire alarms seriously and got out.”
All the guests were transported to the Stiklestad Hotel in Verdal within two hours of the fire breaking out. “Folks can get a shock from something like this, when it happens in the middle of the night and there’s lots of smoke,” Stig Viken of the fire brigade told NRK. “Everyone is getting offers of help.”
Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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