Swedish ferry fire prompts mass evacuation

April 17, 2009 at 1:00 PM
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OSKARSHAMN, Sweden, April 17 (UPI) -- A total of 238 people were evacuated from a ferry used to house Oskarshamn nuclear plant workers in Sweden when the vessel caught fire, police say.

Oskarshamn emergency services official Anders Sjoberg confirmed the mass evacuation during Thursday's blaze, saying all on board the Queen of Scandinavia ferry at the time of the fire were removed as a precaution, TT/The Local reported Friday.

"We just secured a facility there where we plan to bring all the people. We are doing so as we speak," Sjoberg said Friday.

The maritime vessel docked in Oskarshamn's harbor does house between 500 to 600 additional people, TT/The Local said.

All of the ferry's residents are either employees of the engineering company Alstom or the French firm's various suppliers.

The fire was eventually contained, but not before it forced the ferry to lose electrical power. No cause was given for the machine room blaze.

Alf Jacobsson of the police in the Swedish city of Kalmar said the ferry's unidentified captain would decide when all ferry residents could return to the vessel.

"It's a decision the boat's captain needs to make. Otherwise the municipality and social services will need to arrange temporary housing," he said.

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