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Hundreds evacuated after Swedish asylum centre fires

Published onsdag 17 maj kl 10.32
Police: We think it is a coincidence.
(2:24 min)
The fire started in Folketspark in Växjö.
The fire started in Folketspark in Växjö. Credit: Fredrik B Ekdahl/Sveriges Radio.

More than 300 people have been evacuated from in and around asylum centres in southern Sweden after three fires broke out in a single night.

On Tuesday night, 140 people were evacuated from a centre in Målilla, 17 people were evacuated from the former railway hotel in Borrby in Österlen, and a smoke grenade was thrown into an apartment in Ystad.

The worst fire, at an asylum centre in Växjö, forced the evacuation of more than 200 people. Police have said that the fire in Växjö did not start in the asylum centre itself.

"It was a dance platform near the asylum centre which caught fire, but because of the high temperature, the risk of the fire spreading, and the amount of smoke, we evacuated all 200 residents from the centre," Åsa Emanuelsson from the local police told news agency TT.

The fire services who came to the fire in Borrby said it appeared to have started in the dining room.

"The dining room was on fire. One of the residents took a fire extinguisher and managed to put out the fire before the Borrby fire engine arrived to the scene," said Roger Larsson, from the local fire services.

Shortly after the fire in Borrby, fire services received information that a smoke grenade had been thrown into an apartment in the nearby city of Ystad.

"It's seldom a coincidence when we get two alarms almost simultaneously," Larsson said. "We are going to investigate. Our first thought was that it had also been an asylum centre in Ystad, but it wasn't."

The three fires are all being investigated as arson attacks. Åsa Emanuelsson said police are looking into whether or not there is a connection between the fires.

"That is something the investigation will determine," she said. "Police will of course look at them together."

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