A man in his mid-30s who’s originally from Eastern Europe is among two suspects now charged with setting fire to a hotel in Western Norway that was supposed to start housing underage asylum seekers. Police on Monday weren’t ruling out more arrests in what they claim was arson.
The fire at the hotel building in Lindås, Hordaland County, “was not the work of one man,” local sheriff Kjell-Idar Vangberg told local newspaper Bergens Tidende. A second man has also been charged with arson at the intended asylum center.
“There are probably more behind this fire,” Vangberg said. “They belong to a milieu that does not support establishment of an asylum center in Lindås.”
The main suspect is an immigrant himself, from Eastern Europe, police noted, and has been living most recently in Nordhordland. He denied setting the fire at the Lune Huler Hotel on December 6, which was undergoing renovation to accommodate 40 of the many immigrant children who’ve also been arriving along in Norway this year. They were supposed to move in right after New Year, but now the building meant to house them is a charred ruin.
The fire has upset other local residents, many of whom had welcomed the young asylum seekers. The Eastern European’s defense attorney said his client couldn’t understand the charges against him.