May 26, 1822 - Norway's worst fire disaster happened on this day. Grue Church burned to the ground and 113 people died.
Parts of the church dated back to the 13th century, and it had gone through many renovations in its 600-year history. One deadly design flaw was a series of entry doors that swung inward. When fully opened, these doors also blocked access to the upstairs galleries.
On the day it burned, the capacity of Grue Church was around 600 people. The church was full for the Pentecost. Nobody knows what caused the fire, but it began on an outside wall and worked its way inside. The flames spread quickly since the exterior of the structure was covered with thick coats of pine tar.
Panic ensued as churchgoers struggled to reach the exits, but the inward opening doors hampered the evacuation. The church would burn to the ground in less than 20 minutes. Only one of the incinerated victims could be identified, and that was because of the sword the man carried. Tragically, most of those who perished were women and children. Only 7 adult men were among the dead.
One consequence of the disaster was a new law that required all doors on public buildings to swing outward.