Ludwigshafen tragedy began as a smouldering fire

German tabloid daily Bild has reported that the Ludwigshafen apartment fire that killed nine and injured 60 began as a smouldering fire under the building's floor.

Ludwigshafen tragedy began as a smouldering fire
Photo: dpa

According to Bild on Thursday, investigators say the deadly fire began smouldering in the building’s cellar, and they have ruled out wiring defects as a possible cause.

Since the tragic deaths on February 3, suspicions that arsonists set the fire in a hate crime against the building’s Turkish residents have abounded. Turkey sent its own experts to help German officials with the investigation.

The paper writes that experts say the smouldering fire began under the second and third steps of the building’s cellar. The source of the fire remains unclear, but authorities have ruled out technical defects in the building as a possible cause. Arson is also thought to be unlikely, the paper writes.

Authorities expect the results of psychological analysis for two children who say they saw a man start the fire. Their testimonies would be the only concrete evidence of arson, Bild writes.


Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

A driver in Passau has been hit with a €5,000 fine because he was caught by traffic police giving the middle finger.

Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

The district court of Passau sentenced the 53-year-old motorist to the fine after he was caught making the rude gesture in the direction of the speedometer last August on the A3 near the Donautal Ost service area, reported German media. 

The man was not caught speeding, however. According to traffic police who were in the speed camera vehicle at the time, another driver who had overtaken the 53-year-old was over the speed limit. 

When analysing the photo, the officers discovered the slower driver’s middle finger gesture and filed a criminal complaint.

The driver initially filed an objection against a penalty order, and the case dragged on for several months. However, he then accepted the complaint. He was sentenced to 50 ‘unit fines’ of €100 on two counts of insulting behaviour, amounting to €5,000.

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In a letter to police, the man said he regretted the incident and apologised. 

Police said it was “not a petty offence”, and that the sentence could have been “even more drastic”.

People who give insults while driving can face a prison sentences of up to a year.

“Depending on the nature and manner of the incident or in the case of persons with a previous conviction, even a custodial sentence without parole may be considered for an insult,” police in Passau said. 

What does the law say?

Showing the middle finger to another road user in road traffic is an offence in Germany under Section 185 of the Criminal Code (StGB). It’s punishable by a prison sentence of up to one year or a fine.

People can file a complaint if someone shows them the middle finger in road traffic, but it usually only has a chance of success if witnesses can prove that it happened.

As well as the middle finger, it can also be an offence to verbally insult someone. 

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