Evacuated residents could finally return to their homes around Drevja in Nordland County on Thursday, but some of them found their property in shambles. Damage from a truck carrying explosives that exploded itself was described as much worse than any storm damage insurance adjusters have seen.
“This doesn’t involve just repairs, but tearing down and building all over again,” Stein Tore Hansen of Helgeland Byggekontroll told state broadcasting NRK.
Hansen and his colleagues just recently were assessing damage from extreme weather that has hit Norway’s northwest coast this fall. The damage from the explosion earlier this week has overwhelmed them, with some houses destroyed, others with all their windows blown out and walls out of place.
Explosives experts combed the area for any remaining dynamite from the truck that could explode again. Dogs trained to sniff for explosives joined the search, and the area was cleared on Thursday. State highway 254 that runs though the area reopened as well.
The incident was unlike anything experienced before: The truck was delivering the explosives to road construction crews when its engine caught fire. When emergency crews were unable to put out the fire, a widespread area was evacuated because of the explosion danger. The eventual blast was so strong that it was felt for miles away, and turned up on earthquake registers.