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Norway

Fire in Norway rips through historic village of Laerdalsoyri

A large blaze has raged through the historic Norwegian village of Laerdalsoyri, famed for its well-preserved 18th- and 19th-century wooden houses. Dozens of residents have been hospitalized.

According to a police statement "15-30" buildings were completely destroyed, with the inferno still not under control by midday Sunday.

The fire broke out in a house in the riverside village of Laerdalsoyri, in the western municipality of Laerdal, late on Saturday. It is unknown what caused the fire, which quickly spread throughout the village, exacerbated by strong winds.

More than 50 people were admitted to hospital for observation or treatment as a result of smoke inhalation, police said, although there have been no reports of serious injuries.

Some 300 residents were also evacuated from their homes.

Laerdalsoyri was a popular attraction for tourists visiting its 161 wooden houses, dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries.

The village is located in the West Norwegian Fjords area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

ccp/hc (AFP, AP)