Tariq Chani and his son lost everything as the fire quickly spread to eight houses. – The support from the neighbors has been fantastic, says Chani.
– It went very fast, it was very windy. I ran outside in sweatpants and a jacket, no socks on. Chaani says my son did too.
It was his 19-year-old son who discovered the fire and woke him up. It started around 00:30 on Friday night, in a one-story house with eight flats on Slatum Terrace.
– He was awake, smelled it and woke me up. We didn’t have time to think, we ran out and focused on what we could do, says Chaani.
There were 14 residents in the queue, among them both children and the elderly.
– Several neighbors came and together we helped evacuate others. It’s completely unreal, but today I feel it in my body.
One of the neighbors he met outside was Hege Gromsrud. She woke up to a very clear fire alarm.
– The dog barked like he had never done before, he went all “logo”. Then I heard a sound like rain, but it was the sound of fire.
Gromsrud lives in a nearby house. She was on the phone with the emergency center when she heard a loud boom from the fire. After the fire department was notified, he ran into the street.
– One of my neighbors was standing putting on his shoes, and then it rang a second time. The fire spread rapidly as the noise was loud like a gas tank exploding.
The two ran to the apartments, where Chaney and his son went door to door.
Firefighters arrived and the last resident was roused by fire crews. Everyone left.
– The neighbor said she put her feet in the boots and found them filled with glass. Ain’t nobody got time to put on shoes and run outside. It spreads very quickly, says Gromsrud.
All eight flats were completely destroyed, leaving only the house walls of one end flat.
Once all the residents are out and accounted for, it’s time to head to the terraced house where Hege Gromsrud lives.
– They said everyone had to leave, so we had to run back to my building and wake everyone there. Firefighters thought the fire was out of control and could spread quickly, he explains.
Eventually, all the residents gathered in the neighborhood, and a married couple opened the door and said they could come in.
– We should not stand outside and watch houses burn, they said. Many were shocked.
– We were welcomed by a very nice couple. Chani says they were very, very helpful.
To VG, he is proud of both the fire brigade, the police and the neighborhood.
– It was a plaster on the wound, very helpful to everyone. I’m very happy with the neighborhood and it shows that when something happens, everyone comes to it.
He arrived at the scene of the fire on Friday and found both floors of his apartment gutted. He moved with his son half a year ago.
Those are the films he misses the most.
– It’s hard because I’ve lost everything. But everyone came to safety, and that’s the most important thing. We got support from our neighbours, says Chani.
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