An overnight blaze in a small town in western Norway destroyed at least 23 buildings, while 52 people were in hospital for treatment, mainly for smoke inhalation, police and local authorities said Sunday.

Police evacuated several hundred people from the centre of Laerdal, including a section known for its wooden houses, part of Norway’s cultural heritage.

There were, however, no reports of serious injuries or missing people.

Strong winds and a power cut initially hampered fire-fighters.

Telecommunciations were also affected.

“The wind has died down, which improves the prospects for extinguishing the fire, but the blaze is not yet fully under control,” Odd Arne Solvag of the district police told news agency NTB.

A helicopter used to combat forest fires has been commissioned to help tackle the blaze, along with two military helicopters. About 100 fire-fighters were deployed.

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