Flood victims cry out for rebuilding help

Prime Minister Erna Solberg spent much of her weekend visiting flood-ravaged areas in the mountains of southern Norway, many of them extremely popular tourist magnets. Residents are hoping she’ll follow up more quickly on promises of rebuilding aid than her government has after last winter’s fire in Lærdal, which now has also been flooded. The devastation […]

No Lærdal fire lessons learned

Lærdal residents and politicians are angry that there’s been no movement on an investigation into Norway’s worst fires since World War II, five months after the government promised a broad-scale review of the January inferno. Any lessons from Lærdal would be timely for Norwegian fire authorities, who on Thursday night finally contained the last of […]

Stavanger blaze under investigation

A potentially catastrophic fire in the historic district of downtown Stavanger was raising new concerns Thursday about the vulnerability of Norway’s clusters of old wooden houses. Crime technicians, meanwhile, started probing the cause of Wednesday’s blaze but reportedly don’t think it was a case of arson. The fire broke out Wednesday afternoon in two historic […]

Lærdal struggles to rebuild after fire

The crisis is far from over in the mountain town of Lærdalsøyri, which was ravaged by Norway’s worst fires since World War II in January. Locals are now struggling with reconstruction, planning regulations and the fight to secure NOK 60 million (USD 10 million) from the government. The blaze destroyed 40 buildings, many of them […]

Royals visit ‘warzone’ Lærdal

King Harald and Queen Sonja toured the fire-ravaged town of Lærdalsøyri on Thursday, where authorities have now listed 40 buildings as destroyed. Queen Sonja described the scene as being “like a warzone,” while King Harald said it was a miracle no one died in the blaze. The royal couple met with families who lost everything […]

Lærdal fire flares up again

Norway’s worst fire disaster in 50 years is beginning to take its toll on fire crews, who dealt with yet another flare up in the hills above Lærdal overnight on Tuesday. Meanwhile police have started interviewing witnesses, including the owner of the home where the devastating blaze broke out. The new fire was reported shortly […]

Devastation worse than estimated

Fire flared up again in the devastated mountain town of Lærdalsøyri during the night, while damage from its weekend inferno was proving to be worse than even the prime minister was told during her visit to the area on Monday. At least 35 homes are now listed as destroyed, and investigators faced a daunting task […]

Investigation begins into ‘tragic’ fire

The firestorm that swept through a mountain town in western Norway over the weekend was “deeply tragic,” according to top state officials, but no lives were lost and a majority of the old wooden homes in its most historic district were spared. As investigators began probing the ruins to find the cause of the blaze […]

Charred ruins and broken hearts

As day broke after a night of inferno in Lærdal, the charred ruins of a mountain town that was an important part of Norway’s cultural heritage came to light. One witness to the destruction, Daniel Laabak, took this video of the still-smoking remains, which was posted on YouTube Friday morning: Scores of residents in the […]

A cultural treasure before the blaze

UPDATED: The Norwegian mountain town of Lærdalsøyri, hit by a devastating fire over the weekend, has long contained what historians call a “unique” concentration of small wooden houses on par with the better-known preserved districts of Gamle Stavanger and the neighbourhood behind Bryggen in Bergen. Conservationists were cautiously optimistic on Monday that the majority of […]