Oddbjørn Andre Larsen and his family live on Sandtorg by Tjeldsund about 30 km outside Harstad.
On Sunday, a storm and a strong wind came sweeping over the site.
The gusts of wind were so strong that they grabbed the barn on the plot and more or less tore the building up from the foundation wall. Planks and parts from the barn came so fast towards the house that it torpedoed one wall.
Inside the house lived a family of four. Two children and two adults.
– We heard a commotion outside and then there was a bang. Things happened very quickly, Oddbjørn Andre Larsen explains.
– Things started to get through the wall here in the children’s room, Larsen explains.
The situation was perceived as so dangerous that they did not dare to stay in the house itself and therefore chose to escape into the basement.
The basement was safest
– We considered whether we should drive off ourselves, but we did not show what it looked like outside here. It was dark and cluttered. It was safest to take the kids to evacuate down to the basement, he says.
It became so critical that they alerted the police, who eventually called fire crews to evacuate the family late Sunday night.
– How long did you sit down in the basement?
– It took about an hour, he says.
Loose objects that were thrown around in the wind also led to a difficult and challenging work situation for the emergency services that arrived. They had to use the fire truck as protection to reach the house and the family.
– The message was very dramatic. We have never experienced such a strong wind. We park the car so that we do not get any loose building parts on us and those we are to evacuate, says Kurt Jacobsen, emergency manager at Harstad fire and rescue.
The first messages the fire brigade received were dramatic.
– We first thought that there was a family in a basement where the house above them had collapsed. Then you form a picture of what meets us, but fortunately it was a completely different situation when we arrived, says Tommy Mikalsen, fire constable at Harstad fire and rescue.
– The conditions were completely insane, and we had to think about our own safety. There are enormous forces at play when you see planks that have been drilled into the wall, says Mikalsen.
– I want to praise the peace that the family had where they sat ready dressed in the basement and waited for us, the two say.
Today, the property looks like a war zone.
The barn has been smashed, and there are visible traces of planks that have gone straight through the wall with full force.
The biggest impression is to see the children’s room located at the back of this wall.
There are several holes in the walls and in the cot where a six-month-old baby usually sleeps, there are remnants of pieces of planks.
Fortunately, no one was in bed when the storm ravaged the worst.
The family was evacuated from the area where they were met by an ambulance and the police before the trip went to Harstad.
– The fire brigade has done a formidable job and the children felt safe. It was next so it was a bit cool to sit on the fire truck for the five-year-old, says Oddbjørn Andre Larsen.
He has lived in the house since 2014.
– I have never experienced such a severe storm so close before, he says.
Now begins the extensive clearing work and assessment of the damage.
The families are determined that they will stay on the property and will not be intimidated by a storm.
– Now we have to get control of the damage and clean up. We must take it as it comes, says Oddbjørn Andre Larsen.