Police in Bergen fear they may have another church arsonist on their hands, after someone tried to light a fire at a back entrance to the city’s cathedral during the night. Firefighters quickly put it out.
An investigation was underway while church officials in and around Bergen boosted security. Bergen’s historic Fantoft stave church was burned to the ground more than 20 years ago, and memories of that tragedy are still fresh in the minds of many.
“We’re constantly evaluating how we can secure these cultural treasures in the best possible way with the resources we have,” Paul Marhaug, who’s responsible for church buildings in Bergen, told state broadcaster NRK.
Alarms rang at 1:10am on Wednesday and the emergency reaction was swift. Jan Tore Heggholmen, operations leader for the Hordaland Police District, said all indications were the fire had been deliberately set.
The police were also calling for tips from the public. Damage was minimal, with only some soot on the wall and a smell of smoke inside the nearly 200-year-old building. Kjell Bertil Nyland, superintendant at the cathedral, told NRK that it was “frightening that anyone can think of doing something like this,” but was relieved the cathedral’s alarm system functioned as it should.