Officials in Drammen were rushing to the aid this week of around 300 people left homeless, after fire and smoke swept through a large high-rise residential complex in the city’s Fjell district Wednesday afternoon. There were no deaths or injuries, but the fire that started in a ninth-floor flat severely damaged several units, as did all the water needed to fight the blaze.
Around 170 people had to be evacuated when the fire spread over the building’s roof. Portions of the building’s facade were destroyed and authorities warned that more could still fall to the ground, making it too dangerous for residents to be allowed to return to their units to retrieve valuables and important documents.
A total of 326 people were registered as living at the address. One resident told news bureau NTB that he and many of his neighbours now lack such basics as wallets, passports, computers and keys left behind during the evacuation. Others were mostly yearning to retrieve family photos and other keepsakes.
Many spent the first night at a local school and were sent to a hotel on Thursday. Clothing, toiletries, phone chargers and other goods that had been assembled for Ukrainian refugees were quickly turned over to those suddenly left with nothing but the clothes on their backs.
Insurance companies were helping city officials in their efforts to arrange alternative housing and emergency funds for those needing it. The leader of the homesowners’ association hailed Drammen officials for all the rapid help they were receiving. “We are very grateful,” she told newspaper Dagsavisen.