Early this Tuesday morning, an explosion occurred in a building in Gothenburg, western Sweden.

Sixteen people were injured, four of them seriously, in the incident which devastated the building and started a fire shortly before 5 a.m. (03:00 GMT) in the city center, Swedish authorities said.

According to images released in local media, thick white smoke continued to billow from the building on Tuesday morning, as ambulances, fire trucks and rescue teams flooded the area.

An explosive device in front of a front door?

The cause of the explosion is not yet known, police said, but initial evidence suggests that the origin is not accidental.

“The site has been cordoned off and relief operations are underway,” said Hans-Jörgen Östler, spokesperson for the regional police.

"As soon as the site is secure, we will start a technical investigation to determine the cause of the fire and explosion," he added.

According to police sources quoted by the local

GP

newspaper

, an explosive device may have been placed in front of one of the entrance gates.

The chief of relief operations, John Pile, stressed that "an explosion in a residential area, or an explosion in general, is generally not of natural origin", especially since the building does not is not supplied with gas.

The rise of criminal gangs in Sweden

Sixteen people suffering from injuries related to the explosion and the fire that followed were transported to Gothenburg University Hospital, according to the institution's spokesperson, Ingrid Fredriksson.

Among them, three women and a man were seriously injured.

"But it is not certain that there will not be more, because the event is still ongoing," she warned shortly before 10:00 am (08:00 GMT).

Sweden has struggled for several years to counter the rise of criminal gangs, which has notably resulted in a high number of fatal shootings, explosions and settling of scores in an otherwise rather peaceful country.

In 2020, in a country of just over 10 million inhabitants, more than a hundred detonations were recorded, and 102 other incidents concerning attempted explosions or preparations.

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