A massive waterpark within Scandanavia’s largest amusement fair exploded into flames on Monday, injuring several people and decimating the still-in-construction attraction. Oceana Waterworld was set to open later this year and spread across over more than 100,000 square feet both indoors and outdoors. Authorities have evacuated the area after being unable to contain the blaze.
Officials reported that a fire began in one of the rides on the park’s outskirts, triggering an alarm around 10:06 a.m. local time, The Daily Mail reported. The flames quickly spread to neighboring structures. Moments later, several explosions rocked the structure, sending it crumbling to the ground.
🚨NEW: Water ride EXPLODES at Swedish amusement park This Morning Footage shows the Oceana Waterworld in Gothenburg on fire, with flames tearing through the structure and thick, toxic black smoke rising behind snow-covered houses The fire triggered a mass evacuation, and… pic.twitter.com/NZo8YIKnWh
“We know that there are fires in water slides, among other things, but we don’t know how it started,” firefighter Björn van der Kaay told press at the scene.
Residents overlooking the park described the chaos that unfolded. “First we saw smoke, then fire, and then it exploded,” one witness told Expressen. “We have seen how the water slide has been formed over several months. Now it only looks like there is a skeleton left,” she reported.
Employees in adjacent buildings reported feeling the explosions as they went off, with some saying the windows shook. Fearing it was likely the flames would spread to nearby structures, authorities immediately evacuated a number of office blocks and apartment buildings in the area, as well as Liseberg’s Grand Hotel Curiosa.
“The windows started shaking. The parts from the slide could just as easily have flown towards us,” a witness recalled. “We had to leave everything and run out.”
Oceana Waterworld in Gothenburg, Sweden just caught on fire and is a total inferno. This happened shortly after the location opened this morning. Wild stuff. You’d think a water park would at least be safe from fires.pic.twitter.com/fhc04sEkvy
As of Monday afternoon, firefighters were still working to contain the blaze. Roadblocks have been set up to divert traffic, and officials have released a local advisory telling people to stay inside with their windows and doors shut to avoid the toxic smoke.
“There is a lot of plastic in the construction. So (the smoke) is not healthy to inhale. That’s why we’re going out with a public health warning,” Klas Lüppert, a spokesperson for the rescue services, told local outlets.
Several people were injured in the incident, with at least four victims being treated for minor injuries at Sahlgrenska University Hospital. It’s unclear what the extent of their injuries are, or if there were others hurt in the blasts.
The exact cause of the fire is still unknown, but contractors were apparently working on the structure at the time of the fire. The waterpark was yet to open but primed to be the premier attraction at Liseberg Amusement Park, the largest amusement fair in Scandinavia. It was to include both a restaurant and its own hotel. Construction on the waterpark cost around $115 million (1.2 billion kronor).
🇸🇪 🔥Oceana Waterworld in Gothenburg, Sweden catches fire and explodes 🔥Oceana Waterworld en Gotemburgo, Suecia, se incendia y explota pic.twitter.com/o5vSvUHClZ