UPDATED: Firefighters have determined that people were responsible for a fire that destroyed a mountain school used by students on excursion this week. Arson investigators claimed it was too early, however, to rule whether any charges would be filed.
A total of 97 students and three teachers were evacuated late Monday night when fire swept through the Høgeset school camp they were attending in the mountains of Valdres. There were no serious injuries but the school was gutted.
State broadcaster NRK reported that 11 of those evacuated were sent to hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation. All of those attending the school in the mountains were from the Paul Petersen Athletics Institute in Denmark and most of the students are in their 20s.
Trond Skjøld, operations leader of the Vestoppland Police District, told NRK that the first alarm came in around 11pm. “We were told the building was engulfed in flames,” he said. Firefighters managed to prevent the blaze from spreading to other nearby buildings but by Tuesday morning, only the school’s foundation remained.
Students were taken in by the Tyinkrysset Mountain Lodge not far away after the dramatic evacuation that forced some to jump from second-story windows. Most lost all their belongings. An investigation into the fire was continuing.