A powerful explosion in an apartment building in Sweden’s second largest city has injured up to 20 people and forced the evacuation of hundreds more
HELSINKI – A powerful explosion in an apartment building in Gothenburg in Sweden injured up to 20 people on Tuesday, three of them seriously, and forced the evacuation of hundreds more, police and rescue workers say.
Police spokesman Stefan Gustafsson told the Associated Press that eight people were taken to hospital and the cause of the explosion was not yet known.
The explosion took place just before five in the morning in the district of Annedal in central Gothenburg, Sweden’s second largest city. Fires spread to several apartments, and crews from the local fire brigade were still working to put out the flames at 9 o’clock.
– It burned in several places in the property and in several apartments after the explosion, says Jon Pile, operations manager at the larger Gothenburg rescue service.
Byggnadsbo Lars Hulten told the daily newspaper Goteborg Tidning that the sound of the explosion woke him up.
“It was probably the loudest thing I heard. The whole apartment vibrated. The bed vibrated, he said.
Hulten said he saw desperate people “hanging from balconies and climbing over balconies. There was one who fell. It was very dramatic and a very fast course of fire and smoke. ”
Another witness, Lars-Gunnar Wolmesjo, told the newspaper Expressen that he also saw people on their balconies and “some climbed down, some jumped and some had to wait for the firefighters to pick them up with a ladder.”
Some of the building’s residents jumped out of the windows after the explosion, Pile told SVT. He said it looked as if the explosion took place in the courtyard of the building, where the gate was blown away.
The cause of the explosion is unknown, but the police have launched a preliminary investigation. Swedish media said that investigators were considering several theories, including a gas explosion or some form of explosive charge left at the gate.
– We believe that something exploded that has no natural causes, says police spokesman Christer Fuxborg to Goteborg Tidning. The newspaper said that three of the injured were three seriously injured women.