A World Heritage listed building that serves as reception centers in Rjukan in Telemark, was badly damaged in a fire on Friday night.
Police evacuated 70 people from the center, and twelve neighbouring houses.
The police were notified of smoke on the fourth floor in Mandheimen reception center at 22.05 on Friday evening. An hour later,
the flames shot out of the chimney, and soon after, there were visible flames on the fourth floor of the brick building.
‘The fire probably spread while the fire department was there, searching for the source of the smoke. It was pretty chaotic for an hour’,
said operations manager, Vidar Aaltvedt, of the South-East police to the news agency, NTB.
Police reported that the fire was extinguished just before 05.00 on Saturday morning. The fire department was then occupied
with after-quenching. The cause of the fire is not yet known.
The building was UNESCO listed last summer, and in January, renovation work to the building was planned to begin. Several million
were to be used in making Mandheimen similar to what it had been in 1916, the year it was completed as a home for single men.
‘This is a tragedy. The building would have been renovated next year’, said Mayor Bjørn Sverre Birkeland on Rjukan Radio.
Rjukan and Notodden industrial history entered the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in July 2015, becoming Norway’s eighth world
heritage site. The Norwegian Hydro plants involved in fertiliser production at Notodden and Rjukan provided the basis for the
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today