On Saturday night, a fire in a residential building in Lærdalsøyri quickly spread to other houses in the area and Norway had one of its worst city fires. So far, it is estimated at least 30 buildings were burnt down, or damaged. During the fire, three hundreds inhabitants were evacuated from the fire-hit region. The police reported hundreds of people have been hospitalized. Also communication system and electricity were cut for a long time in the town for about one day.
Justice Minister Anders Anundsen described the situation as extremely demanding.
The last real big fire in such a densely populated area was in the spring of 1923, when 250 houses burnt down in Helgeland. On the other hand, the most extensive fire in modern times in Norway was the devastating city fire in Ålesund in another cold January night, 23 January 1904.
A strong wind blew through the city and over ten thousand people lost their homes and one person died.
The fire that left Ålesund in ruins was recorded as the largest fire disaster to ever destroy a Norwegian city. Within a few hours, the uncotrollable flames transformed the city with twelve thousand inhabitants into a ghost city where little was spared.
The people with their dearest possessions in their hands escaped from the January cold and dark night. Old and sick were transported in wagons and carts. The assistance came in Ålesund days and weeks after the fire from virtually all over the world, according to bybrann.no.
In total, about 850 of the city’s houses were destroyed in the fire, and 10,000 people were left homeless, which led Ålesund to be rebuilt from scratch.