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Cheese fire causes traffic meltdown

2013-01-23 09:26

GETTING WHEY TOO HOT: Norwegian firefighters (top) battled for five days to contain a blaze, fuelled by 27 tons of flaming brown cheese (brunost, bottom).

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NARVIK, Norway - A truckload of burning cheese has closed a road tunnel in Norway for six days in January 2013.

Authorities report that 27 tons of flaming brown cheese (brunost), a Norwegian delicacy, blocked off a 3km  tunnel near the northern coastal town of Narvik when it caught fire on January 17.

The fire was finally put out on January 21 2013. The fire raged for five days and smouldering toxic gases were slowing the recovery operation, officials said.

'IT'S ALMOST LIKE PETROL'

Policeman Viggo Berg said: "This high concentration of fat and sugar is almost like petrol if it gets hot enough."

Brown cheese is made from whey, contains up to 30% fat and has a caramel taste.

Kjell Bjoern Vinje, who works for the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, said: "I didn't know that brown cheese burns so well."

He added that in his 15 years in the administration, this was the first time cheese had caught fire on Norwegian roads.

Berg said that no one was injured in the fire, only one other vehicle was in the area at the time and that the accident had luckily happened close to one of the tunnel's exits.

The tunnel, which is said to be badly damaged, is likely to remain closed for several weeks.


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