Cheese fire causes traffic meltdown in Norway tunnel

OSLO Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:42pm IST

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OSLO (Reuters) - A truckload of burning cheese has closed a road tunnel in Arctic Norway for the last six days.

Some 27 metric tons of flaming brown cheese (brunost), a Norwegian delicacy, blocked off a three-km (1.9 mile) tunnel near the northern coastal town of Narvik when it caught fire last Thursday. The fire was finally put out on Monday.

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

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

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

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 will closed for repairs for at least a week.

(Reporting by Victoria Klesty, editing by Paul Casciato)

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