Fire from asylum accommodation near Wismar: firefighter arrested

Four weeks ago, a refugee shelter for Ukrainians in Groß Strömkendorf caught fire. Police arrested a suspect firefighter.

A burned house

The remains of the hotel building after the fire on the night of October 20th Photo: Jens Büttner/dpa

BERLIN taz | After the fire one Accommodation for Ukrainian refugees in Groß Strömkendorf near Wismar (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania), the police arrested a suspect: a 32-year-old volunteer firefighter. He is accused of also being responsible for other arson attacks in the region – but denies the crimes.

The arrest was based on witness statements and traces at the crime scene, the public prosecutor’s office in Schwerin said. Several firefighters were also questioned about the fact, including the suspect – who is said to have gotten caught up in contradictions.

The suspect, who has not previously been convicted, is said to have been arrested in the evening of October 19 set fire to the shelter’s thatched roof, in which there were 14 Ukrainians and three supervisors at the time. Everyone was able to escape from the house unharmed. But the house burned down almost completely, resulting in property damage running into millions.

After the crime, the police set up their own investigative team and considered a political motive possible, also because a few days earlier there had been a swastika graffiti on the entrance sign of the accommodation. However, the investigations did not result in any connection to the arson, the public prosecutor’s office said. Therefore, there is no evidence of a political motive for the fire.

The suspect is said to be responsible for the series of fires

Rather, the investigators see the 32-year-old as a serial arsonist. A series of fires has been going on in the region for months, with a total of 19 fires – which was also pointed out after the fire in Groß Strömkendorf. The investigators now want to be able to prove that the 32-year-old was involved in fires on June 30 in a forest area, on August 12 in a carport and on September 12 in 300 to 500 straw bales in a field. The suspect is said to have been involved in the fire brigade operations later, but had also been at the crime scenes before. Investigations into the other fires are ongoing, prosecutors said.

remains open, why the refugee shelter of all things became part of the series – and whether there is a political motive for this act. In addition, it is unclear who is responsible for the swastika graffiti before the fire.

The act sparked nationwide horror

The arson at the refugee accommodation caused nationwide horror. Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser (SPD) and Federal Commissioner for Integration Reem Alabali-Radovan (SPD) and Prime Minister Manuela Schwesig (SPD) traveled to the town and sharply condemned the act. A benefit concert was also held afterwards to collect donations for the refugees.

State Interior Minister Christian level (SPD) was relieved about the arrest on Wednesday. “I hope this puts an end to the various speculations as to how the fire in the accommodation for Ukrainian war refugees in the small town in the Northwest Mecklenburg district came about,” he said.

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