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'Suspect device' may have caused explosion at Swedish apartment block, police say

At least 16 people were hurt in the incident in Gothenburg, four of them suffering serious injuries.

Smoke billows from an apartment building after an explosion in Annedal
Smoke billows from an apartment building after an explosion in Annedal
Image: TT via PA Images

Updated Sep 28th 2021, 2:47 PM

A SUSPECT DEVICE may have caused an apartment building explosion in Sweden’s second-largest city which left at least 16 people injured, police said.

The explosion took place just before 5am local time today in the Annedal district in central Gothenburg.

A Sahlgrenska University Hospital spokeswoman said 16 people were brought in for treatment, including four – three older women and a man in his 50s – with serious injuries.

Police told Swedish broadcaster TV4 that investigators think foul play may have been involved. They suspect someone placed a device in or just outside the building.

Officers are looking into whether any tenants were being targeted.

Spokesman Thomas Fuxborg said: “We suspect that someone might have placed something that has exploded. That is the word we got when the alarm was given.”

A building resident told the daily newspaper Goteborg Tidning Hulten he saw desperate people who “hung from balconies, climbing over balconies. There was one who fell”.

Fires spread to several apartments after the blast, and crews from the local fire department were still working to extinguish the flames as of 9am.

“It was burning in several places in the property and in several apartments after the explosion,” said Jon Pile, operations manager at the greater Gothenburg 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”.

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Another witness, Lars-Gunnar Wolmesjo, told Expressen newspaper that he also 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.

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