Police suspect an apartment building explosion in Sweden’s second-largest city might have been caused by a device of some kind
HELSINKI — A powerful explosion in an apartment building in Sweden that police suspect was caused by an explosive device of some kind injured up to 20 people and forced the evacuation of hundreds more early Tuesday in Goteborg, the country’s second-largest city.
Sahlgrenska University Hospital spokeswoman Ingrid Frederiksson said 16 people were taken to Goteborg’s main hospital. Four people — three older women and a man in his 50s — were being treated for serious injuries, she said.
Police spokesman Thomas Fuxborg the cause of the explosion was not yet known, but he told Swedish broadcaster TV4 that investigators think foul play might have been involved. They are looking into whether any tenants might have been targeted, he said.
“We suspect that someone might have placed something that has exploded. That is the word we got when the alarm was given,” Fuxborg said.
The explosion took place just before 5 a.m. in the Annedal district in central Goteborg, Sweden’s second-largest city. Fires spread to several apartments, and crews from the local fire department were still working to extinguish the flames as of 9 a.m.
“It was burning in several places in the property and in several apartments after the explosion,” said Jon Pile, operations manager at the greater Goteborg rescue service.
Building resident 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 who “hung from balconies, 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 Expressen newspaper that he, too, 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 windows following the blast, Pile told reporters at a news conference. He said it appeared the explosion took place in the building’s inner courtyard, which had its entry gate blown away.
Sweden’s Home Affairs Minister Mikael Damberg told Swedish news agency TT that it was “awful” to see the devastation.
“Many of us now want answers to what happened and the cause of this terrible event,” Damberg was quoted as saying by TT.
Jan M. Olsen contributed from Copenhagen, Denmark.