Arson in refugee accommodation: Firefighter arrested

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania
Fire in refugee accommodation: Police arrest firefighter

The former hotel in Groß Strömkendorf (Mecklenburg-West Pomerania) burned down completely in the night from October 19th to 20th, 2022

© Jens Büttner / DPA

Didn’t the fire in a shelter for Ukrainian refugees near Wismar have a political background? Investigators now believe they have cleared up a series of fires. A firefighter is suspected of the crime.

No connection with swastika daubing. No political background – The devastating fire in a refugee accommodation near Wismar four weeks ago was not a targeted attack on refugees according to the investigations so far. “As a result of the investigation, we assume that the act in Groß Strömkendorf is part of a series of fires,” said senior prosecutor Claudia Lange from the Schwerin public prosecutor’s office on Wednesday at a press conference.

The 32-year-old suspect arrested in the morning is said to be active in both the professional and volunteer fire brigades, he denies the allegations.

Hotel in Strömkendorf intended for refugees

The thatched former hotel in Groß Strömkensdorf was largely burned down in the night of October 19th to 20th. The 14 Ukrainian residents of the accommodation and their three carers were able to escape from the building unharmed. The crime immediately made waves, and on the same day Prime Minister Manuela Schwesig (SPD) and Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) visited the scene of the fire.

The investigation results of the criminal police and the public prosecutor’s office so far contradict the suspicions of a racially motivated crime expressed in public and in the media immediately after the major fire. These were ignited by a swastika scrawl that had been daubed on a German Red Cross sign in front of the building two days before the fire. The investigators had therefore initially not ruled out a political background.

Arson series instead of arson attack?

The residents of the small town, on the other hand, should see themselves confirmed, they had resisted being brought close to extremism. “That’s a prejudice,” said a local resident the day after the fire. The mayor of the responsible office in Neuburg, Tino Schmidt (SPD), immediately put himself in front of his citizens.

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania: fire from refugee accommodation: police arrest firefighter

However, he did not rate the current investigation results as a reason for relief to the German Press Agency. If the suspicion is correct, the series of fires has been cleared up and the accusation of a racist act is off the table, but for all volunteers in the region – such as those in the volunteer fire brigade – this would be a disappointment.

Firefighter with inconsistencies in statement

According to the public prosecutor’s office, the fire report assumes that the fire was deliberately set and a fire accelerator was also used. However, according to the criminal police, it was not the report that killed the accused, but his own statement: This did not match the information provided by the other 120 residents and emergency services interviewed. According to the public prosecutor’s office, these inconsistencies in connection with the secured evidence justify the assumption that the accused was already at the crime scene at the time of the crime. However, he also participated in the extinguishing work.

However, the strong suspicion not only extends to the fire in the refugee accommodation, but also to three other fires in a wooded area, a carport and a straw rental. In addition, there are 15 other acts since April 2022, which are also part of the investigation, according to Lange.

The 32-year-old was brought before the public prosecutor after the magistrate at the Schwerin district court on Wednesday and is now in custody. During a house search, further evidence was also secured, which had not yet been evaluated.

tkr/Sebastian Schug

source site-1