SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Arson is suspected as the cause of two apartment fires in Germany's Bremen province early Sunday morning that sent 30 people to hospital; the buildings were located on the same street and both are owned by Germans of Turkish descent.
A blaze broke out on the basement floor of an apartment building belonging to a Turkish man, Engin Sarıkaya, in Bremen's Gröpelingen neighborhood at 6:00 a.m. on Sunday. The residents of the building were quickly alerted, but both the entrance of the building and the fire escape were on fire, forcing residents to rush to the top floor of the building to escape the blaze. Just an hour and a half later another apartment building belonging to a Turkish family on the same street in the predominately immigrant neighborhood was allegedly set ablaze. There was no loss of life in either of the incidents as people noticed the fire quickly enough. Residents who escaped to the top floors to escape the fire were rescued by firefighters.
A total of 29 people suffered smoke inhalation and were taken to area hospitals. The injured were mainly Turks who live in Germany, while there were also people of Bulgarian and Arabian descent among the injured, including nine children and a baby. Furthermore; an Arabian teen that jumped from the first floor of the building was seriously injured and taken to hospital for treatment. Damages to the buildings are estimated at 100,000 euros.
A 22-year-old German man, who has mental disorder, was detained by German police at the scene under suspicions of arson. A spokesperson for Bremen Police Department said the suspect was taken to psychiatry clinic as he has mental problems.
Bilal Yazıcı, who lives in the building, in which 40 residents live, said some people aimed to burn them alive inside the building.
Bremen's Social Democrat Interior Minister Ulrich Maeurer, who arrived at the scene following the incidents, wished the victims of the incidents a speedy recovery and asserted that what is necessary will be done regarding the incidents. He also said he cannot comment until the exact details surrounding the fires are revealed.
Maeurer, who also held a press conference on the incidents on Sunday, further said they still haven't yet had any exact evidence that can prove these incidents stem from racism or xenophobia, adding that an investigation has been launched and details will be shared with the public.
Chairman of the Bremen Islamic Federation Zeki Başaran and his vice-president Şanver Çoban also went to the scene to look at the damage first hand.
Pertaining to the fires in the Turkish buildings, Turkish Consul General of Hannover Tunca Özçuhadar, speaking to the Sabah Daily, said that they will closely monitor the details revealed surrounding the incidents. Stating that he appointed the vice consul, the attaché and the presidents of Turkish associations to follow the investigation into the incidents, Özçuhadar said, “The only consolation to us is that no loss of life occurred in the incidents.”
These incidents are not the first in Germany. A total of three children from a Turkish family died in an apartment fire in Dortmund, Germany on Aug. 3. Rescue teams found the bodies of 4-year-old Mustafa Tüfekçi and 12-year-old Dilan Tüfekçi, while 10-year-old Mehmet Tüfekçi was taken to hospital with severe burns, but later died from his injuries. A spokesperson for the Dortmund Police Department, Peter Schulz, said there were strong indications the fire might have been the result of arson.
In another deadly incident, nine Turks, including five children, were killed in a blaze in an apartment building in the western German city of Ludwigshafen on Feb. 5, 2008, which is considered the biggest fire in the post-World War II history of the city. All nine victims were immigrants from Turkey's southern province of Gaziantep, and most of them were from the same family, officials said.
Another outstanding brutal attack in which Turkish people were targeted in Germany occurred in the western German city of Solingen in 1993 when a group of extreme rightist neo-Nazis burnt the homes of Turkish families in the town of Solingen, killing five members of a Turkish family.— www.shafaqna.com/English
Source: Todays Zaman