Swedish police say they are looking for a man in connection with an explosion and fire against a large apartment building that injured 16 people, four of them seriously
STOCKHOLM (AP) – Swedish police said on Thursday that they are looking for a man in connection with an explosion and fire in a large apartment building this week that injured 16 people, four of them seriously.
The man is wanted on suspicion of general destruction and has not been found yet, police say. The authorities did not identify him, but Swedish media reported that the suspect was a man in his 50s who had lived with his mother in the building in Gothenburg, Sweden’s second largest city.
“We still do not know what caused the explosion,” said police chief Anders Borjesson at a press conference. “The investigation is far from over, we still have a lot ahead of us.”
Borjesson said that the heat and lack of oxygen in the building had made it difficult for the investigators to do their job.
He refused to provide details about the suspect.
The property owner had tried to evict the man and his mother from their apartment, according to the daily newspaper Aftonbladet. The local newspaper Goteborg-Posten said that an eviction was planned for Tuesday, the day when the explosion occurred.
Aftonbladet said that the police accused the man of several alleged crimes a week before the explosion. The newspaper also reported that the suspect harassed several people, including the owner of the building, after he was not allowed to see his mother in a nursing home due to pandemic restrictions.
The explosion shook the building in central Gothenburg early on Tuesday. Subsequent fires spread to several apartments and hundreds of residents were evacuated. At least 140 apartments were damaged.
One of the four seriously injured remained in intensive care on Wednesday, Gothenburg’s main hospital told Sweden’s TV broadcaster SVT.
Swedish media had quickly focused on the possibility that the explosion could be related to warring gangs. Sweden has seen an increase in violence between organized criminal gangs.
Police and prosecutors said on Thursday that “at present there is no evidence that the blast has links to gang crime.”