Lead prosecutor Lothar Liebig said on Tuesday that it was “extremely unlikely” that the deadly inferno was a premeditated act, as the fire spread very slowly through the house. There is also no evidence usually associated with arson at the scene, he said.
Two girls thought to have seen someone set the fire offered “fluctuating statements” and they changed their original testimony, Liebig said. The girls aged eight and nine said shortly after the fire that claimed the lives of nine Turkish women and children that they had observed a man sparking the blaze.
Since the deaths on February 3, there have been widespread suspicions that arsonists set the fire in a hate crime against the building’s Turkish residents. Turkey sent its own experts to help German officials with the investigation and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan even visited the site.