Norway cheese fire shuts down road tunnel

Jan 24, 2013, 07:24 IST | Agencies

A road tunnel in northern Norway will be shut for several weeks after a 27-tonne truckload of sweet goat's milk cheese caught fire.

Regional traffic department chief Geir Joergensen says flames engulfed the tunnel last week and gases from the melting load hindered firefighters. It took four days to put it out.

The driver was not hurt and no other vehicles were in the 3.6-km tunnel at the time.

Joergensen said the tunnel near the small Arctic municipality of Tysfjord, some 1,350 km north of the capital, Oslo, is likely to remain closed for two more weeks.

Police officer Viggo Berg said the high concentration of fat and sugar in the cheese made it burn “almost like petrol if it gets hot enough”.

The lorry driver had noticed the fire in his trailer and abandoned it about 300 m from the southern entrance. No one was hurt.

Kjell Bjoern Vinje, of the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, said it was the first time he could remember cheese catching fire on Norwegian roads.

“I didn’t know that brown cheese burns so well,” he said. Goat’s milk cheese is an essential part of many Norwegians’ daily diet.

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