Liseberg Oceana Fire

Update on Devastating Fire at Liseberg’s Oceana Water Park

By Joe Tracy, editor of Theme Park Magazine

On February 12, a major fire erupted at the construction site of Liseberg Oceana Vattenvärld, a highly anticipated water park in Gothenburg that was due to open in a couple of months. The fire caused widespread damage, destroying most of the park. One person was, unfortunately, killed in the blaze. The fire, which started at 10 am last Monday, quickly escalated, affecting not only the construction site but also nearby facilities and the local community.

The Fire’s Outbreak and Immediate Response

The blaze originated from an outdoor water attraction, swiftly engulfing the entire building and burning out of control for hours. Several explosions were heard as emergency services rushed to the scene, focusing on extinguishing the fire and ensuring the safety of individuals nearby. Liseberg’s immediate actions included the evacuation of guests at the Grand Curiosa Hotel and employees in adjacent office buildings, demonstrating a well-coordinated response to the crisis.

Casualties and Impact on the Community

Sadly, the fire resulted in the death of Patrik Gillholm, the construction manager for the Oceana project. Gillholm, who was missing in the initial stages of the incident, was later found deceased. Additionally, sixteen individuals sought medical care for minor injuries. All were discharged the same day.

Liseberg CEO Andreas Andersen, put out a statement upon learning of Gillholm’s death.

“It is with the deepest sorrow we have received information from the police that a person has been found deceased at the site of the fire, who is most likely our esteemed colleague Patrik Gillholm,” said Andersen. “What was a confirmed disaster limited to material losses has turned into a confirmed tragedy with loss of life.”

Andersen also expressed profound sorrow over the event, emphasizing support for the police’s investigation and the welfare of the victims and their families. The community and Liseberg’s management have shown solidarity, focusing on recovery and support for those affected.

About Liseberg’s Oceana Vattenvärld

Oceana Vattenvärld was part of a major expansion by Liseberg, which also included the Grand Curiosa Hotel. The water park, in the finishing stages of construction, was carefully themed to pay homage to Gothenburg’s maritime history and the Swedish East India Company. With more than 10,000 square meters of water adventures, Oceana could hold nearly 1,800 guests at a time. The new water park promised to be one of the most impressive water adventure parks in the Scandinavian region.

Liseberg is Sweden’s largest theme park, with nearly 3 million visitors annually. Construction of its Oceana water park expansion began in 2020 and was nearing completion at the time of the fire. How the fire started is still under investigation.

The Path Forward

The loss of Patrik Gillholm and the damage to the Oceana Vattenvärld project have been deeply felt across Gothenburg and beyond. However, the response from Liseberg, local authorities, and the community has highlighted the resilience and solidarity inherent in the face of adversity. As Liseberg embarks on rebuilding, the spirit of determination and hope remains strong, with a focus on the future and the continued enjoyment of visitors and locals alike.

Despite the tragedy, late last week, Liseberg’s board unanimously voted to rebuild Oceana Vattenvärld. More details will be released at a later date.

Editor’s Note: Holding a degree in public relations, I applaud Liseberg for its exemplary response to the recent tragedy. The company’s seamless cooperation with the authorities and transparent communication with the public has been commendable. Liseberg’s proactive Crisis Management Plan, a vital asset all parks should possess, was effectively activated in response to the fire. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the loved ones of Patrik Gillholm during this difficult time.

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