A small Norwegian town just inside the Arctic circle and which lies close to the Russian border was jolted awake shortly before midnight on Wednesday as its Civil Defense warning system was triggered and sirens blared, causing locals to believe they were under threat of Russian invasion.
Vadso Norway is a town of only 5,000 but is positioned close enough to its neighbor that locals can see Russia on a clear day. There has long been a Norwegian military intelligence base in Vadso, which monitors the nearby Russian Murmansk naval base across the border to the East, long serving as an observation post for Severomorsk – the main administrative base of the Russian Northern Fleet, out of which at the height of the Cold War over 200 submarines operated.
The false alarm originated when one of the town’s multiple defense early alert sirens was activated – subsequently discovered to be an alarm at the town’s old fire station, according to Norwegian public broadcaster NRK. The Norwegian language broadcaster further reported panic ensuing as “anxious residents feared a war had broken out” and as local police were flooded with phone calls from residents who believed “they were under attack.”