UPDATED: Yet another tragedy hit Norway over the weekend, when fire swept through a hytte (holiday home) at Andøy, Northern Norway, in the middle of the night. Four of the five victims of the blaze were under the age of 16.
The cause of the fire, which burned the hytte to the ground, was under investigation. The relatively large two-story hytte, which state broadcaster NRK reported was built in 2005, had been renovated in 2017 and bought by a family from Lofoten just last autumn. Details remained sketchy, but NRK reported there were two adults and four youngsters under age 16 in the hytte when the fire broke out in the early morning darkness of Saturday.
The victims were identified at midday Monday as Hedda Madell Bang Winther, age 10; Henning Christian Bang Johansen, age 15; Luise Marie Bang, age 40; Gustav Rane Krogh Hovde, age 12; and Mogens Pareli Krogh Hovde, age 15.
All six staying at the hytte live in the community of Vågan in Lofoten. Only one man among them managed to flee the blaze, and he ran four kilometers barefoot in the snow to summon help. The hytte was located in the recreational area of Kobbedalen at Andøya in scenic Vesterålen, near the village of Bjørnskinn and the town of Risøyhamn, and was not accessible by conventional vehicles, only tractors.
Teams of police and fire experts remained at the site on Monday to try to determine the cause of the blaze. The remains of the victims have been sent to the University Hospital in Tromsø for autopsy and identification. “Police have no reason to believe anything other than that this was an accident,” Per Erik Hagen, leader of the police in Lofoten and Vesterålen, told NRK, “but we’re working to clarify as much as possible to find the reason for the fire.”