No arson clues found in German fire tragedy

12th February 2008, Comments 0 comments

Investigators refuse to rule out arson completely.

Ludwigshafen, Germany -- As nine victims of an apartment fire in Ludwigshafen in Germany were buried at home in Turkey, police announced they had yet to find any physical evidence of arson.

Sniffer dogs had not found any sign of inflammable chemicals in the ruined building. Fire experts were sure the blaze began below street level in the basement.

But the police, who are being advised by four officers from Turkey, refused to say whether the results so far ruled out arson or if they believed the fire had been an accident.

Many Turks suspect the February fire may have been a racist arson attack, citing claims by two girl survivors, 8 and 9, that they saw a stranger light tapers beforehand inside the main entrance from the street.

Many Turks were angry when German officials said before the inquiry wound up that there was no evidence of arson.

The four women and five children killed were buried at a funeral of the Alawite faith in the south-eastern Turkish city of Gaziantep on Monday.

The German Ambassador in Ankara, Ekart Kuntz, told the mourners in a short speech in Turkish, "Let us make today a sign of the Turkish and German friendship and cooperation. May God give you strength."

The fire gained world attention, first with news photos of parents throwing their baby from a window to a policeman who safely caught him, then with a revelation that neo-Nazi hate had once been scrawled on the building.

Police in the city, who have a team of 80 working on the case, said they would probably have no more to say about the fire inquiry till Thursday.

They appealed to people who attended a carnival parade in the downtown street outside just before the fire to hand in any amateur video and still images of the crowd and the 110-year-old building.

A police spokesman said scientific analysis would require more time. He declined comment on news reports that there were inconsistencies in the claims by the girl survivors.

Premier Kurt Beck said Rhineland Palatinate state would seek new apartments for the fire survivors to rent.

DPA with Expatica

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