Fire swept through an historic wooden building on the main street of Porsgrunn, southwest of Oslo, during the night. Firefighters gained control of the blaze before it spread to other structures in the area, but not before it had destroyed the building and a popular gallery containing millions of kroner worth of art.
“This is just so terribly sad,” Trude Lyng, who runs the traditional Galleri Osebro, told state broadcaster NRK Friday morning. “We can’t understand this, the gallery has been in this building for 28 years. Now jobs have been lost and the art is gone. It’s just so sad.”
The building housing the gallery dated from the 1880s and was a landmark in Porsgrunn’s historic center. Owner Harald Skogen called the fire “the most tragic thing I’ve experienced.” It was a building with historic preservation status that was gutted, with smoke and water damage in the portions that still stood Friday morning.
NRK reported that the fire was first discovered when a neighbour saw smoke coming out of the loft above a cafe in the building. Firefighters arrived quickly at the scene and 19 people in neighbouring buildings were evacuated. The cause of the fire was under investigation.