Police suspect fire in Swedish city was ‘coordinated arson’

Multiple fires broke out in Trollhätten, north of Gothenburg, on Thursday night. A multi-storey car park, an abandoned terraced house and almost 20 cars were set alight.

Police suspect fire in Swedish city was 'coordinated arson'
One of the arson sites in Trollhättan. Photo: Joachim Nywall/TT

Police suspect that the fires were started as part of a coordinated action, but no one has been arrested and there are no suspects.

“The alarm was raised at 10.30pm and the fires were slightly spread out, but quite close to each other, which makes us think it could be a coordinated action, but we don’t want to speculate on what has happened,” Göran Carlbom, officer for the western police region told TT newswire.

Despite the severity of the fires, no one has been injured.

“We have not received information of any injuries,” police spokesperson Hans-Jörgen Ostler told TT. “But there is large material damage”.

“The terraced house turned out to be a building scheduled for demolition, so rescue services let that burn down, but some apartments near the multi-storey car park have been evacuated due to smoke,” Carlbom told TT.

A VMA or “important message to the public” was issued, telling residents of Trollhättan to stay indoors and close doors, windows and ventilation.

By 1am on Friday, the fires had almost completely been extinguished, but shortly afterwards police received reports of three cars which had been set alight in a residential area.

“We don’t know if [the fires] are related, it’s too early to say,” Carlbom told TT.

The areas in question will be closed off for technical investigations, and fire services were still on the scene at 1am.

“There’s no risk of the fire spreading, but we’re still here to ensure everything remains safe,” Mona Hedhman, on-duty officer at the Trollhätten fire service told TT.

Witnesses have reported sightings of three young individuals wearing masks running from one of the car fires, although no arrests have been made.

“We’re working on a fairly extensive operation,” Ostler told TT, “but we’re being a bit secretive on what we’re working on, so we don’t tip any possible perpetrators off to the fact that we’re on their trail.”

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Attacker ‘severely disturbed’ during stabbing at Swedish political festival

Theodor Engström, the 33-year-old man who stabbed psychiatrist Ing-Marie Wieselgren to death at the Almedalen political festival in July, was seriously psychiatrically disturbed at the time of his attack, forensic psychiatrists have ruled.

Attacker 'severely disturbed' during stabbing at Swedish political festival

According to the Hela Gotland newspaper the Swedish National Board of Forensic Medicine has ruled that the man was so disturbed at the time of his attack he had lost the ability to understand the consequences of his actions, and has as a result recommended that he be given psychiatric treatment rather than a prison term.

The agency said that Engström had still been disturbed at the time he was given psychiatric assessment, and warned that there was a risk that Engström would commit further criminal acts. 

“This is a question which has relevance at a future stage,” said prosecutor Henrik Olin. “It means he cannot be sentenced to jail, but will instead receive psychiatric care. But it is not going to change how the investigation is carried out.” 

READ ALSO: What do we know about the Almedalen knife attack?

Engström stabbed Wieselgren, who worked as psychiatric coordinator for the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, as she was on the way to take part on a discussion at the Almedalen political festival. She died in hospital later that day. 

Engström has admitted to carrying out the attack, telling police that he intended to make a protest against the state of psychiatric healthcare in Sweden.