Ethnic Turks escape suspected arson in Germany

15th February 2008, Comments 0 comments

Prosecutors say they are interviewing a suspect.

Aldingen, Germany -- Fourteen residents, mostly ethnic Turks, fled an apartment building in Germany early Friday as it was gutted by a fire that appeared to be arson.
Prosecutors said police were interviewing one of the residents on evidence that he had lit the fire.

Sources said he had a history of setting off such fires and added there was no evidence of a racially motivated attack.

The blaze in the small town of Aldingen, 35 kilometers north of the Swiss border, brought comparisons with a mysterious blaze that killed nine Alawite Turkish residents on February 3 in the city of Ludwigshafen.

An inquiry in that factory city has yet to establish if that tenement-building blaze was an accident or a racially motivated arson attack on the families living there.

The suspicions of arson have been widely discussed in Germany's ethnic Turkish community and Turkey itself, prompting Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to appeal for calm while the inquiry continues.

None of the 10 residents of Turkish origin and four of German extraction were injured in the Aldingen blaze.

A motorist driving home from a night job saw flames leaping from wooden shingles on the outside of the block of rented flats at 1 a.m. and rang all the doorbells to wake those inside.

Five of those evacuated were children ages 3 to 16.

Police in Aldingen, population 7,600, said the fire began at three places, almost sure proof that it was not an accident. The ethnicity of the suspect was not disclosed.

Both the Aldingen and Ludwigshafen fires involved old apartment buildings containing large quantities of dry structural timbers. In the Aldingen blaze, the external wooden shingles helped the fire to spread upwards.

The building was gutted.

DPA with Expatica

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