The forgotten explosive stores – Emil loses his life in the death trap

Lina’s ex-partner, Elvira’s brother, was named Emil. Until a year and a half ago, he was a workshop worker in Östersund municipality.

But one day in November 2020, Emil is called in to open the locks on two metal cabinets in a stone storage room to be cleaned up. Everyone thinks the cabinets are empty. They should only be opened, separated from their concrete foundation and driven to a station. Emil uses a cutting torch to cut the locks. One cupboard is empty. The second explodes and Emil dies immediately.

stores were used until the 90s

The cupboard that Emil tried to open was a so-called explosive chest or explosive storage, full of black powder and detonators, forgotten from the time when it was common for the municipalities themselves to carry out their own explosions during construction, from the 1950s onwards. In the 90’s, many switched to buying these services from authorized blasting that specialize.

The metal cabinet, which was full of explosives, marked “storage”, had thus stood on the municipality’s land and had not been used for over 20 years.

Another 20 or so explosive stores are found

The municipality of Östersund admitted a environment in connection with the accident and was sentenced in December 2021 to a fine of SEK 2 million.

With the accident in Östersund, you open your eyes to the safety risk with forgotten blasting chests. The municipalities and the in County are calling for tips from the public and even more unknown explosive devices that do not belong to the municipalities appear. A total of at least about 20 explosive stores used by, among others, municipalities, companies and agencies. And in one of them, which was discovered near Åre, there are as much as 625 kilos of explosives.

The campaign that never got off

“This is an inventory that needs to be done throughout the country,” thinks the head of at Östersund municipality. The Swedish Work Environment Authority is reasoning in the same way and they are sounding the alarm to ’s municipalities and regions, SKR and the Swedish Agency for Civil Protection and Emergency Planning, MSB, about the need for a targeted information campaign for all of the country’s municipalities.

But in a survey sent by Kaliber, 125 of the 142 municipalities that answered say that they have not found out how it is with explosives storage, after the explosion in Östersund. Half state that the reason is that they did not know that there could be forgotten explosive chests.

Despite the alarms about serious risks and discussions between authorities and SKR that it was important to have a nationwide information campaign, it did not go away. Why?


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