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Germany: Police identify deceased in refugee center fire

July 9, 2024

A young Ethiopian man died in Monday's explosion at a refugee accommodation close to Hamburg. Police believe he was behind the blast.

The refugee accomodation where the explosion and fire happened
People were asked to avoid the area after the fire and explosion and an investigation was launched by police into the incident Image: Georg Wendt/dpa//picture alliance

Police said on Tuesday that the person who died in a fire at a refugee accommodation in northern Germany on Monday was a 28-year-old Ethiopian man.

Following an explosion which triggered a fire, the man's body was found in a room at the facility in the town of Buchholz in der Nordheide. This town is located in the state of Lower Saxony, just to the south of the city of Hamburg.

Police also said that investigators believed that the man who died was probably responsible for the blast.

Motive behind explosion not clear yet

The police are still waiting for orders from the public prosecutors office to carry out a post-mortem examination on the suspect's body. As of now, the investigation is focusing on the motive and background of the incident.

Twenty other people, including a police officer, were injured in the fire. Authorities said the officer's life was not in danger, but that he was receiving treatment for severe burns in intensive care.

Some of the other injured people were treated on site, the rest were taken to the hospital.

Explosion claims several lives, incurs heavy property damage

Damages to the accommodation, which consists of containers turned into housing, were estimated to cost around €250,000 (around $270,000).

A total of 62 asylum seekers stayed in the containers. They were first taken to emergency housing, a spokeswoman for the Harburg district told the German news agency EPD.

Police were called to the scene on Monday after workers at the facility smelt petrol. Shortly after two officers arrived, there was an explosion and subsequent fire.

ab, sp/wd (dpa, AFP)