Fire erupts in parking structure at Sola Airport, Norway

Friday, January 10, 2020

At about 15:30 local time (1430 UTC) on Tuesday a fire was reported in the “Kiss & Fly” section of a parking structure at Stavanger Airport, Sola in Norway. The structure has over 3000 parking spaces; reports said more than half of those were filled. The airport was quickly closed to air traffic.

It was initially reported the fire started in an electric vehicle, but news broadcaster NRK later reported the fire started in a recalled 2005 Opel Zafira. The car was recalled after a similar fire in Cork, Ireland in August last year, causing damage to about 60 cars. Police said they questioned the car’s owner.

The fire produced heavy smoke, and local officials said there was danger the building might collapse. Nils-Erik Haagenrud of Rogaland Fire and Rescue said late on Tuesday no personnel would be sent into the building. Rogaland Fire and Rescue requested support and equipment from other fire departments. The airport and nearby hotel were both evacuated and local police warned people in the general vicinity to stay inside and close exterior vents and windows. Through Tuesday evening the fire was reduced and the order for a fire extinguisher robot from Oslo Fire and Rescue was canceled.

The airport closure also led to Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg being stranded after a visit to the Johan Sverdrup oil field. Solberg posted on Twitter asking for places to eat for the seven hour drive from Stavanger to the capital of Oslo.

Reports as of Wednesday said an estimated two to three hundred vehicles had been damaged or destroyed, but no humans had been hurt.

By about 22:00 local time (2100 UTC) on Tuesday the flames were under control. Local firefighters planned to continue to monitor the situation and work to prevent further damage. It was also discovered the structure was built without sprinklers. Stavanger Airport, Sola was to open on Wednesday morning, but returning to normal service was expected to take longer. Affected travelers were advised to contact their airlines for rebooking.

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