AP News, News, Wildland Firefighting

Fire Under Control on Danish Former Research Island

Wildland Firefighting

HELSINKI (AP) — Emergency and rescue workers in Denmark brought a blaze under control Tuesday on a largely deserted Danish island that until recently housed an animal disease research center, local media reported.

No one was injured in the fire and investigators were dispatched to Lindholm island to probe what may have caused the blaze. A virologist also was sent to the island as there remains a risk of infection spreading in one of the buildings, Danish media said.

Danish TV2 broadcaster said police were alerted in the early hours of the morning that one of the buildings on the island, which lies some three kilometers (1.9 miles) off the mainland and about 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of Copenhagen, was on fire.

Video footage and photos showed thick smoke billowing from one of the buildings on the island, where only a staff of three – guards and boatmen – lives permanently.

Until 2018, Lindholm — complete with its laboratories, stable buildings and private houses — was home to the research center of the National Veterinary Institute, a unit of the Technical University of Denmark. For decades, research trials were carried out on the island including ones on the foot-and-mouth disease, rabies and the African swine fever.

In a much-debated initiative, the previous Danish government led by Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen planned to transform Lindholm into a center where rejected asylum-seekers and convicted foreign nationals would be housed. However, the current government led by the Social Democrat Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen scrapped the idea soon after taking power in June 2019.

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