African Press International (API)

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Norway fire threatens historic wood village in Laerdal

Posted by African Press International on January 19, 2014

Adapted from BBC

Residents of a heritage village in southern Norway have been evacuated after a raging fire broke out, threatening its unique wooden buildings.

Flames spread rapidly after the fire began overnight in a house in Laerdalsoyri, a village of 1,150 people in Laerdal, on Sognefjord fjord.

Flames have burnt at least 30 buildings, fanned by strong winds, Norwegian broadcaster NRK reports. Blaze threatens historic wood village in Laerdal Norway

Fire chars historic wooden village in Laerdal Norway

An aerial view of fire damage in Laerdalsoyri, southern Norway, 19 January Little more than ash was left in some places

A night-time blaze has consumed at least 30 buildings in a heritage village in southern Norway, famous for its unique wooden buildings.

Scores of people were evacuated as winds fanned the flames in Laerdalsoyri, a village of 1,150 people in Laerdal, on Sognefjord fjord.

At least 90 people received hospital treatment but no deaths were reported.

Prime Minister Erna Solberg was due to visit the village as investigators look for the cause of the fire.

While the flames appear to have been extinguished, police warned of a danger they could flare up again.

Drone warning

Local farmers helped out while emergency services waited for firefighting helicopters to arrive.

Flames burnt at least 30 buildings, fanned by strong winds

At one stage, police told Norwegian newspaper VG that a helicopter was being delayed because of suspected media drones taking pictures in the area.

“It is important for us to stress that if someone is using drones, they must be get them out of there,” police spokesman Nils Erik Eggen said.

A ruined building in Laerdalsoyri, southern Norway, 19 January Smoke was still rising from the ruins on Sunday

“This could create a hazardous situation and may pose a danger to helicopters.”

The police could not say how many drones had been operating in the area.

The Laerdal district contains a stave church and many other historic wooden buildings, hundreds of years old, much visited by tourists.

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