At a press conference on Wednesday morning, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said the explosion at 10pm on Tuesday was “an attack on our sense of security”, as she dealt with the first major crisis in her premiership.
“It was a wonderful, warm summer night and a lot of people were out on the street,” she said, saying that an explosion in such a central part of Denmark's capital left everyone feeling at risk.
“Those who are behind this have put a lot of people in danger. It's a miracle that no one was seriously injured,” she said.
“We don't know what the motive was and the police are continuing their investigation,” she added. “I don't want to come to any conclusions as to what it was that struck us in Østerbro, but it's quite serious.”
Pictures or the agency's HQ in the eastern part of central Copenhagen showed the metal door twisted up and bent out of shape, and most of the windows around it shattered.
The Danish Tax Agency, or Skattestyrelsen, is a key institution in Denmark, which has some of the highest taxes in the world, with tax revenue comprising 45 percent of GDP, one of the highest rates in the OECD group of rich countries.
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen called the blast “an attack on our sense of security”. Photo: Scanpix
Jørgen Bergen Skov, chief inspector of the Danish police, told Danish media that police were certain the damage was caused by an explosive device.
“This was not an accident. Someone has intentionally attacked the building,” he said at a press conference, according to Danish broadcaster DR.
Because the building is usually empty at the time, he said he believed the perpetrators had not intended to hurt anyone.
However, one person was injured after debris from the blast reached the nearby Nordhavn Station.
“A person was struck by fragments from the explosion at the tax agency and sought treatment at an emergency room,” Skov said.
Two people were inside the building when the explosion happened, neither of whom were injured.
Danish Tax Minister Morten Bødskov said that the action was “completely unacceptable” when he visited on Wednesday morning morning.
“This is not merely a prank,” he told state broadcaster DR. “It’s a very, very violent explosion. Someone is behind this.”
Merete Agergaard, Director of the Danish Tax Agency (centre) and tax minister Morten Bødskov surveying the damage on Wednesday. Photo: Olafur Steinar Gestsson / Ritzau Scanpix
He called on anyone with useful information to contact the police.
“If you know anything at all, you should go to the Copenhagen Police so we can hold the perpetrators responsible,” he told Denmark's Ritzau news agency.
Merete Agergaard, Director of the Danish Tax Agency, said that she had been shocked when she was informed about what had happened on Tuesday night.
“It was absolutely terrifying to discover it. I never, ever imagined I would experience something like this,” she told the Ekstra Bladet newspaper. “I was very concerned that someone might be injured and I'm very happy that nothing happened to anybody.”
A person living nearby told the Politiken newspaper that the blast had “felt like a small earthquake”, causing his apartment to physically shake.
Another witness wrote on Facebook on Tuesday night that “the entire metal entrance to the Tax Agency has been curled up like a piece of tin foil”: “It is not firecrackers they were using here.”
Ryan Dooley, a British man living in Copenhagen, was one of the first to report the explosion on Twitter.
He told The Local he had been watching a football game when the explosion happened.
“We heard it from the pub. At first I thought it was fireworks (FC Copenhagen fans). They were playing a big game after all,” he said “Something was weird about it though – it felt bigger.”
The Copenhagen Police on Tuesday night stopped all train traffic from Nordhavn station and between Østerport and Svanemøllen, although by this morning the trains were once again running normally.
Police also cordoned off a large area around the offices.
According to DR, the Danish Armed Force's bomb squad was still in the building on Wednesday morning.
“They are going around and inspecting the damage to the building,” the broadcaster's reporter Joshua Hollingdale said.