An investigation has been launched into why a hydrogen facility at a Uno-X filling station in Sandvika, west of Oslo, exploded Monday afternoon. The powerful blast forced the evacuation of a wide area and the closure of two major highways leading into Oslo, just as thousands of people were returning from the last three-day holiday weekend of the year until Christmas.
Two motorists were sent to a local emergency clinic after suffering injuries from their airbags that inflated because of the impact of the blast as they happened to drive by. The busy E18 highway was blocked for hours in both directions, as was the intersection of the E18 and E16 highways in Sandvika.
The blast was heard all over Sandvika, and it was followed by a fire that kept burning and set off lots of smoke. Firefighters stayed at the scene throughout the night, for fear of more explosions.
The cause was under probe, while Uno-X immediately closed down its hydrogen stations at three locations in Norway. “We don’t know what’s behind this,” Jens Haugland, chief executive of Uno-X, told state broadcaster NRK. “We have experts at the scene who will assist the authorities in the probe.”