Five injured as refugee shelter near Frankfurt catches fire

German police is investigating whether the fire is latest in series of arson attacks on refugee shelters in Germany

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Members of Germany's technical support unit (THW) fix wooden boards to a building used to house asylum seekers after a fire broke out in the entrance area of the building in Heppenheim, Germany.

Fire broke out at a refugee shelter in the town of Heppenheim near Frankfurt, five people were slightly injured buy fire smoke,  German Police said on Friday.

Police spokesperson Christiane Kobus said in a statement "One resident who tried to rescue himself by jumping out of a window from the second floor was seriously wounded."

She said the fire was emerged behind the entrance door and quickly extinguished for unknown reasons according to intial findings.

The three-storey building was accomodating more than 60 refugees from Syria, Iraq, Somalia and Ethiopia.

The police and state prosecuters had started to investigate the cause of blaze which came shortly after anti-refugee protests at Heidenau in Eastern Germany on Friday.

The German interior ministry has recorded 202 anti-refugee atacks from the begginnig of the year until June, in a worrying trend. There have have been more than 100 arson attacks in recent months on refugee shelters across the country.

Refugee shelter points attacked in Germany

Most of the arson attacks have been on empty buildings planned to be shelters for refugees. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has expressed her support for refugees over the arson attack in Heidenau and urged German citizens to speak out against rising anti-refugee sentiment.

“No refugee shelter in my neighbourhood” map showing refugee
shelters in Germany.

"It's shameful and repulsive what we experienced here," said Merkel.

"We need to use all our strength to make clear that we won't tolerate those who call the dignity of others into question. There will be no tolerance toward those who aren't prepared to help where help is needed."

Recently, a map named “No refugee shelter in my neighbourhood” detailing locations of refugee shelters in Germany appeared on Google was deleted amid concern that shelters could be targets.

As the world is facing the worst refugee crisis since World War II, Germany is expecting to welcome about 800,000 refugees by the end of this year, more than any European Union country.

In August, Germany was announced the suspention of Dublin Protocol regulations for Syrian refugees which was European Counries are following. Dublin Protocol was forcing refugees to apply asylum only in the country they stepped in.

The Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said “The Dublin system doesn’t only work terribly, it actually doesn’t work at all any more."

TRTWorld and agencies