In what could be the first "blowback" response against German refugees following Monday's deadly Berlin terrorist attack in which a Tunisian jihadist killed 12 people after ramming a truck in a Christmas market after swearing allegiance to ISIS, Germany's Morgenpost reports that on Friday a suspicious fire erupted at a refugee center in a Hamburg suburb, destroying 28 residential units in the blaze.
There were no injuries among the building's 37 inhabitants although two people are still reportedly missing after the blaze. The firemen did not find any corpses in the debris and assume that they are alive. The spokesperson was initially unable to provide information about the causes of the incident as the investigation continues. According to eyewitnesses, a violent bang was heard in the neighborhood before the fire erupted.
Hamburg’s fire brigades were alerted around 5pm local time at which point authorities were dispatched to deal with the flames. When rescue teams arrived, they found a crowd of about thirty people watching the building burn to the ground.
Firefighters were able to contain the blaze, with no serious injuries reported, except for one individual who was hospitalized due to smoke poisoning. A total of 28 residential containers, which together made a two-story makeshift building burned down. A total housing area of 300 square meters was destroyed, a spokesman for the fire department told journalists.
"I saw the flames blaze through the window," said a 21-year-old Syrian refugee who was housed on the upper floor of the adjoining house. "I walked right away and screamed in the hall: Fire, get out!" He likely saved the life of a 35-year-old man from Afghanistan: "I slept in my room, and was awakened by the calls," he said. "Then I smelled the smoke." All his possessions were victims of the flames: clothing, books, personal papers.
Following the incident, the local residents lost their homes had been transferred to other accommodation facilities in the city, Hamburg social services announced.