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Suspected gas leak was fermented herring

TT/The Local · 9 Sep 2012, 09:40

Published: 09 Sep 2012 09:40 GMT+02:00

“The person who called the police had spoken to several neighbours in the house who also thought it smelled like gas, and were worried,” said Stockholm fire fighter Björn Hörnsten to the national radio station SR.

On the scene, however, emergency services were quickly able to classify the unpleasant smell as harmless, since it didn’t come from anything more dramatic than a traditional Swedish autumn party.

“I guess somebody didn’t know what surströmming smells like,” said Sven-Erik Olsson from the police’s command centre to the TT news agency.

Surströmming, or fermented herring, is a traditional Swedish delicacy, but its odour is notoriously foul. In the beginning of fall, it’s not uncommon for Swedes to gather some friends and spend an evening together enjoying the smelly fish at what is called a surströmmingsskiva (fermented herring party).

But on this occasion, the smell spread from the apartment out to the stairwell, scaring the neighbours.

“They’ve got gas in the building, so I find it a bit strange that they called us. They ought to know what it smells like when you turn on a gas stove. It doesn’t smell like surströmming at all,” said Hörnsten.

According to the Stockholm fire department, this isn’t the first time they’ve rushed out to respond to an emergency call and ended up at a surströmming party.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

11:32 September 9, 2012 by JulieLou40
I can fully understand why they thought it was gas or something else dangerous. I've only smelled it once, but it was absolutely disgusting. I think it should be banned for use anywhere except out in the countryside, where you're not going to make your neighbours feel sick.
12:21 September 9, 2012 by rise
Surströmming is a barbaric tradition that should have died out long since.
12:42 September 9, 2012 by Ian C. Purdie - Sydney
OK it supposedly smells but what does it actually taste like?
13:21 September 9, 2012 by Green2013
It is now wonder the Vikings of the past went beserk.
13:32 September 9, 2012 by Hisingen

Very few ever get near enough to taste the stuff. The peg on your nose is never strong enough to keep out the smell, and after the obligatory half bottle of vodka necessary you are not capable of movement . . . .
14:01 September 9, 2012 by Borilla
Yes but the vodka is good.
14:37 September 9, 2012 by skatty
I think to follow Swedish traditions will help immigrants to adapt themselves to Sweden and learn Swedish language; even though the smell of adaptation might be terrifying and make you to pass out!

Try it.
15:20 September 9, 2012 by Svensksmith
You first.
15:23 September 9, 2012 by swinglish
It actually tastes very good, but I do agree that it is better to eat it put in the open than in an apartment block.
17:36 September 9, 2012 by Hamsterdam
I don't believe for second that the emergency services "rushed" anywhere.
19:23 September 9, 2012 by cattie
^^^ #10 so true

I live in the city and I actually DID think that it was against the many rules of apartment life to open surströmming. When I first came to Stockholm and a surströmmingsskiva was described, I asked my friend if we could have such a party, and she said no it would not be allowed in the apartmentt building.

I cannot imagine a homeowners association(bostadrättsföreningen) allowing it. Or a landlord.
22:47 September 9, 2012 by kparsels
Is this available in the US? sounds like fun for a snack in an airport. before HLS starts gropes us.
23:44 September 9, 2012 by janswed
It tastes a lot better then it smells ,earthy spicy,but you need all the acroutments that comes with it,brannvin or vodka is one of them,there is a legal limit for when you can consume such a meal,or atleast there used to be,now I feel a little homesick,oh well.
23:54 September 9, 2012 by johnny1939
I love surstromming but it should be eaten outside. I certainly would never have it in my place!!! It would probably take weeks until you got rid of the smell. If you can imagine Limburger Cheese but 10 times worse. Last time I had this delicacy was in Honolulu, Hawaii of all places.
02:42 September 10, 2012 by Investor612
I've never been to a fermented herring party.

What a sheltered life.
11:26 September 10, 2012 by rise
Surströmming does not smell. It STINKS! Eating it is just an other excuse of having some more of that brännvin. If I would want to tank myself up I could do it without the surströmming. I wouldn't need any excuse for drinking brännvin but just drink and be done with it.
00:34 September 11, 2012 by johnny_m
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
12:51 September 11, 2012 by Penlua
this method seems to be old one .Now days we not use such things.

Houston moving companies
19:45 September 14, 2012 by tadchem
Anyone who can't tell Surströmming from a Chinese Century Egg by smell has no reason to be in Sweden. Or China.
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