25 injured and more than 100 evacuated after explosion in an apartment block in Sweden
- Cause for the blast remains unknown, police have opened an investigation
- Several apartments and stairwells were struck, injuring dozens of residents
- People described how the shock wave boomed all the way up to the fifth floor
- Three women, aged between 60 and 80, were among most seriously wounded
Around 25 people have been rushed to hospital and more than 100 evacuated after an explosion at an apartment block in Sweden.
The blast shook the building in downtown Gothenburg at 5am, sending terrified resident fleeing to the exits as others were forced to clamber onto the balconies of neighbouring flats to escape the smoke pouring through their front doors.
Three women, aged between 60 and 80, were among the most seriously wounded. A firefighter also received minor injuries during rescue efforts.
The cause of the explosion remains unknown and police have opened an investigation.
Smoke pours out of apartment windows after an explosion struck the apartment block in the city of Gothenburg at around 5am
Smoke billows out of windows after the explosion in the Annedal area of central Gothenburg
Firefighters appear to be trying to gain access to a nearby building this morning
Paramedics take an injured person away on a stretcher. As many as 25 have been hospitalised
Smoke pours from the building as a fire engine cherry picker helps to extinguish the blaze
Rescue service task leader Jon Pile told broadcaster TV4 that a gas leak had been ruled out.
Theodor Öréus, 24, who recently moved in, described how the shockwave reverberated all the way up to his apartment on the fifth floor.
‘The front door of the apartment was slammed shut by the wave of pressure and smoke billowed into the apartment,’ he told newspaper Aftonbladet.
‘Because the stairwell was full of smoke, we couldn’t get out. Instead, we had to go onto the balcony and climb over to the flat next door.’
‘When we came down to the courtyard, people were fainting on the ground. Some have been picked up by ambulance,’ Mr Öréus added.
A total of six people were taken to hospital in ambulances, while another 18 who suffered minor wounds were taken by a bus.
Anja Almen, who lives in the building, said she heard a commotion from the street just after 5am, around 15 minutes after the explosion.
‘I went out on the balcony and I was shocked. There was smoke everywhere, from every stairwell,’ she said by phone from a nearby church to which she and other tenants were evacuated.
‘Fire trucks with ladders were pulling people from apartments.’
Smoke billows from the rooftop of the block of flats in downtown Gothenburg on Tuesday morning
Firefighters at the scene stand beside glass windows on the ground floor from which smoke billows
The Nordic country has contended with surging gang crime in recent years, with rival groups employing explosives and fire arms to settle scores.
Evacuees, some wearing only their dressing gowns, are being cared for across different sites, including the Saron Church nearby the the apartment block.
Around 40 have gone to the church, several of them are in shock, according to local social services official Ulla-Carin Moberg.
‘We have blankets, coffee, coffee, and clothes. Some have not even brought any clothes with them,’ Ms Moberg told Aftonbladet.
Many injured have been taken to Mölndal Hospital, which is part of Sahlgrenska University Hospital.
‘At the hospital we have also set up a room for crisis support where people who have lost their homes can talk and get practical help,’ Ms Moberg added.