Sylt authorities suspect arson as fires continue

Sylt authorities suspect arson as fires continue
Fire fighters inspect damages on Monday morning. Photo: DPA
After fire fighters put out three new blazes overnight, police said Wednesday that they suspect arson in a rash of fires across the northern German island of Sylt.

The fires broke out around 10 pm Tuesday night in a garden house, carport and cellar, all within a space of 500 metres, a police spokesperson said.

“The cause remains unclear. We can’t rule out arson, though – that’s kind of what it looks like,” he said.

While the latest fires caused no significant property damage or bodily harm, several fires on Sunday night left four people injured and caused millions of euros in damage.

That night, all 10 of the North Sea island’s fire brigades were called out to quell flames at numerous locations. Among the worst hit were an adult education centre in Klappholttal, which burned to the ground, and a hotel in Wenningstedt, which had to be evacuated. Some 300 people were forced to spend the night at the island’s airport.

Meanwhile, two burning buildings in a nature preserve area and several smoking trash dumpsters also kept fire fighters busy.

Initial reports said that some of the fires may have been caused by lightning from severe thunderstorms that night, but police soon said arson might also have been a factor.

Thirty officials are now searching for arson suspects.

“We assume the perpetrator will be scared off by this,” the police spokesman said.

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