“I never want to see that again,” says Lærdal fire volunteer / News / The Foreigner

“I never want to see that again,” says Lærdal fire volunteer. As Norway NCIS (Kripos) investigators carry out their complex work of finding the fire’s cause, a The Foreigner reader recounts her experiences helping people evacuated from their homes. “I’m a student nurse, so I was home for the weekend when the fire happened,” Marita Sanden, tells The Foreigner. “We live a little bit outside Lærdal in a small place called Erdal. We weren’t directly affected by the fire, but rushed into town to offer our help where we could as soon as we heard about it.” Based in the nurses’ centre in Skulevegen, the 21-year-old assisted coordination efforts from about midnight until four in the morning. She contacted others to come and help with the evacuation effort and guide evacuees."The whole town was alight"

norwayfire, laerdal, volunteers



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“I never want to see that again,” says Lærdal fire volunteer

Published on Monday, 20th January, 2014 at 14:01 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 20th January 2014 at 19:00.

As Norway NCIS (Kripos) investigators carry out their complex work of finding the fire’s cause, a The Foreigner reader recounts her experiences helping people evacuated from their homes.

A Lærdal street
Oyragata in Lærdal before the fire hit the village. Picture from 2008A Lærdal street
Photo: Hesse1309/Wikimedia Commons


“I’m a student nurse, so I was home for the weekend when the fire happened,” Marita Sanden, tells The Foreigner. “We live a little bit outside Lærdal in a small place called Erdal. We weren’t directly affected by the fire, but rushed into town to offer our help where we could as soon as we heard about it.”

Based in the nurses’ centre in Skulevegen, the 21-year-old assisted coordination efforts from about midnight until four in the morning. She contacted others to come and help with the evacuation effort and guide evacuees.

"The whole town was alight"

“Four people arrived immediately [I started my shift], more came throughout the night. The community office was more-or-less out of Firefighters in Lærdal, Justice Minister
Firefighters in Lærdal, Justice Minister
Ministry of Justice/Flickr
the risk zone, but the mood was somber regarding the whole situation. People were coming and going all night to help with the efforts,” she explains.

“It was a quick spreading fire, so people were working hard to try and control it. I can’t say how many were helping with the fire because I wasn’t on the front line, but almost the entire community was helping to some length.”

According to her, the smallness of the town means “everyone knows everyone, but I also met some colleagues there.”

Ms Sanden then describes her journey from home, only knowing there was a fire at time, not the full situation.

What struck you, in particular?      

“Shock was the main thing; driving into town, seeing the whole town alight from the many different fires. You could see many houses from the main road burnt to the ground. We drove in in total darkness and were greeted by the brightness of the flames.”

How do things look now?

Justice Minister Anders Anundsen, Lærdal
Justice Minister Anders Anundsen, Lærdal
Ministry of Justice/Flickr
“Many fields are charred. I only what it looks like on the outskirts because most of the town is closed. We are on the outskirts of town are without power. We don't know for how long.”

“But this is because they quite rightly so always concentrate on getting the town running first because of the main amenities. There are only a few families where we live,” she says.

NRK reports Lærdal Hospital treated 450 people due to the blaze that raged. 272 were admitted for smoke-related injuries.

Investigation

In a statement, regional health officials say 24 people can be discharged from the main hospital in Førde municipality, Sogn og Fjordane County. The three still in hospital have no physical injuries.

Two patients at Lærdal Hospital can be discharged, while doctors will consider a third this afternoon.

“At last count, there are now two patients left still at Lærdal hospital with injuries relating to the fire,” the health authority says.

It is believed some 23 houses were engulfed by the blaze that raged at the weekend. Many people lost most of what they owned.

Prime Minsiter Erna Solberg, Lærdal
Prime Minsiter Erna Solberg, Lærdal
Ministry of Justice/Flickr
Norwegian media also report it was the biggest in Norway for 45 years, with some irreplaceable Norwegian cultural heritage objects lost for good.

Prime Minister Erna Solberg is currently in the region talking to locals and inspecting the damage, with TRH King Harald and Queen Sonja expected to visit Lærdal, Thursday.

Kripos (Norway NCIS) is currently investigating the area to look for clues. Police still do not know the reason for why the fire started, but say at today’s press conference they have a theory as to in which house it was.

Officers are asking for assistance from members of the public as part of their inquiries.

“The town was on fire and part of the mountain was on fire. I don’t ever want to see this kind of sight again,” says Marita Sanden to The Foreigner.



Published on Monday, 20th January, 2014 at 14:01 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 20th January 2014 at 19:00.

This post has the following tags: norwayfire, laerdal, volunteers.





  
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