Norwegian and international media report that a fire in the car park at Sola airport in Stavanger on 7 January caused the airport to close. The fire was reported at about 15:00 and all flights were cancelled until mid-morning the next day. Nearby buildings including a Scandic Hotel were evacuated. Fire Chief Runar Heggen said that by 18:00 on 7 January part of the car park had collapsed and at least 300 of the estimated 1,000 cars in the five-storey car park were destroyed. The fire was too dangerous for firefighters to enter the building, with exploding fuel tanks and huge quantities of smoke, toxic gases and heat. A strong wind helped to spread the fire within the car park. 70 firefighters attacked the fire from outside, aided by the wind to get water and foam inside the building.
The fire even delayed Norway’s Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, who had been in Stavanger for the ceremonial opening of a new oil field and had to return to Oslo by car – a seven hour journey.
The EFSN’s Norwegian members have confirmed that Norway does not require sprinklers in open-sided car parks and that this car park was therefore not protected. The next day it was confirmed that the fire started in an elderly diesel-powered car (an Opel Safira). It will take some time before it anyone enters the building since there are fears of further collapse. The Scandic Hotel was severely smoke-damaged and will need renovation. This video clip from the Stavanger Aftenblad shows the extent of the damage and that even an airport crash tender was unable to control the fire.