Four dead in house fire – suspect turns himself in

Apolda (dpa) – The Thuringian district town of Apolda is in shock: four people died in a devastating fire in a residential building. After the death of two people became known on Sunday – the day of the fire – two more dead were discovered on Monday.

The heavily charred corpses were discovered in the attic at noon during an assessment by a fire investigator, the police said. Police are investigating possible arson. A 35-year-old suspect was provisionally arrested, as Thuringia’s Interior Minister Georg Maier (SPD) said during a visit to Apolda. He turned himself in to the police on Monday.

Arson “predominantly likely”

The police are investigating in all directions, said Maier. But arson cannot only not be ruled out, but “predominantly likely”. According to the Jena criminal police, the investigators had already received evidence of the suspect “promptly” on Sunday through witness statements. The police also had photos of him.

The man finally appeared on Monday morning at the police station in Jena. “We assume that he previously had contact with a person close to him who influenced him in this way,” said Mirko Remmert, head of the Jena criminal police. The man himself has not yet commented.

According to a police spokesman, the three dead in the attic – including a body discovered on Sunday – were recovered with the help of a fire brigade turntable ladder, but their identity has not yet been clarified. The house could not yet be entered from the street.

Children among the injured

The fire in the city of 22,000 inhabitants broke out early on Sunday morning. A 53-year-old man died trying to escape from the flames by jumping out of a window. As of Monday, almost two dozen people were injured, some seriously, including eight children under the age of 14 and two firefighters, according to the police.

According to information from Sunday, the fire brigade saved 30 people. The police spokesman said there were more people in the house than were reported there. At the time, 44 residents and five visitors were known in the house, as city fire inspector Ingo Knobbe said. Guests would have celebrated the school launch together with residents.

He was “deeply shaken” by the fire disaster, said Maier, who expressed his thanks to the fire and rescue services. Apolda’s Mayor Rüdiger Eisenbrand (Free Voters) said such a catastrophe was “difficult for me to bear”. The house is uninhabitable, the police estimated the property damage at around two million euros. According to the city administration, there are many inquiries and calls from residents who want to help or donate to the fire victims. A donation account has been set up at the Sparkasse Mittelthüringen.

© dpa-infocom, dpa:220829-99-552087/6

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