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PROPERTY

Half of Oslo’s old apartment blocks don’t meet fire safety regulations

As many as 1,800 old apartment buildings in Norway's capital pose a fire risk and fail to meet modern safety regulations, Oslo Fire and Rescue Service recently warned. 

Pictured are old apartment buildings in Oslo.
Oslo Fire and Rescue Service warned that a lot of old buildings do not meet modern fire safety standards. Pictured are old apartment blocks in Oslo. Photo by Marleen Mulder-Wieske on Unsplash

In total, there are around 3,500 apartment blocks categorised as 1890 buildings. These are buildings built between 1860 and 1930. Half of these buildings could pose a significant fire risk and don’t meet modern regulations, broadcaster TV2 recently reported

“The probability of deficiencies is very high. In 99 percent of the inspections we have already carried out, there have been deviations (from the regulations),” Patrik Czajkowski, team leader for the apartment building team in Oslo Fire and Rescue Service, told TV2. 

Compared to modern building standards, these older blocks typically allow fires to spread quicker and lack steel fireproof doors, automatic fire alarms, or extinguishing systems. 

“The buildings that have not been upgraded are less equipped for a fire. All the measures that should be in place and could reduce the risk of fire are not present” Czajkowski explained. 

Around 1,700 of the city’s 1890 buildings have been upgraded to meet modern fire safety regulations, according to Oslo Municipality

Tenants and homeowners in Oslo can check with the chairperson of their apartment board about the building’s fire measures. An apartment building’s chairperson is responsible for ensuring the building’s fire safety is up to scratch.

The National Association Of Homeowners said a lot of work had been done to improve fire safety in general over the past few years. The association added that making older buildings more resilient in the event of a fire was a more cost-effective process than people may have realised. 

“People think it is expensive, but when they complete the project and see that they actually have the opportunity to survive a fire, I think most people think it is well-spent money,” Anders Leisner, head of the legal department at the association, told TV2. 

However, Leisner said that it can be challenging to motivate associations to spend money on fire safety if they haven’t been ordered to do so. 

“They are subject to several costly requirements, such as replacing front doors and plastering the basement and attic. It can reach millions of kroner, especially in apartment buildings with a small size,” the lawyer said. 

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OSLO

Norway considers euthanising walrus that won hearts in Oslo fjord

Norwegian authorities are considering putting down a walrus that won hearts basking in the sun of the Oslo fjord, amid fears it is putting itself and the public in danger.

Norway considers euthanising walrus that won hearts in Oslo fjord

Despite repeated appeals to the public to keep their distance from the walrus — a young female weighing 600 kilos (1,300 pounds) that has been nicknamed Freya — the mammal continues to attract big crowds, the Fisheries Directorate said in a statement on Thursday.

Its text was accompanied by a photograph of a group of onlookers crowding near the animal.

“The public’s reckless behaviour and failure to follow authorities’ recommendations could put lives in danger”, a spokeswoman for the fisheries agency, Nadia Jdaini, said.

“We are now exploring other measures, and euthanasia may be a real alternative”, she added.

Freya, whose name is a reference to the Norse goddess of beauty and love, has made headlines since July 17th when she was first spotted in the waters of the Norwegian capital.

Walruses normally lives in the even more northerly latitudes of the Arctic.

Between long naps — a walrus can sleep up to 20 hours a day — Freya has been filmed chasing a duck, attacking a swan and, more often than not, dozing on boats struggling to support her bulk.

Despite the recommendations, some curious onlookers have continued to approach her, sometimes with children in tow, to take photographs.

“Her health has clearly declined. The walrus is not getting enough rest and the experts we have consulted now suspect that the animal is stressed,” Jdaini said.

A protected species, walruses normally eat molluscs, small fish, shrimps and crabs. 

While they don’t normally attack people, they can if they feel threatened, according to authorities.

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