A German firefighter causes uproar by refusing to tackle fires in refugee shelters

Published November 8th, 2015 - 12:37 GMT
An image shows the aftermath of an arson attack against Muslims in Sweden. (AFP/File)
An image shows the aftermath of an arson attack against Muslims in Sweden. (AFP/File)

A volunteer firefighter in Germany caused outrage after requesting not to be sent on any firefighting operations to refugee accommodations.

Known only as Jurgen S, the fireman claimed that personal safety could not be guaranteed in shelters lived in by asylum seekers. He took back his request shortly afterward, but not before he received some backlash.

The firefighter’s request comes after a Molotov cocktail was thrown into a house where three asylum seekers were staying in the Western town of Sehnde. Fortunately, passersby put out the fire.

Recent statistics show that attacks on asylum seekers in Germany have tripled over the past year: 637 have been reported so far compared with a total of 199 in 2014. Among these are cases of arson on buildings inhabited by refugees.  

The fire service condemned the volunteer's request, distancing itself from him by assuring the public that his desire for “self-protection” is his private opinion. 

“What is annoying is that he relates his desire for ‘self-protection’ to the entire volunteer Frankenberg fire service,” Fire Chief Harry Wrobel told German newspaper Die Welt.

Germany is expected to host between 800,000 and one million asylum seekers this year. 

By Kane Hippisley-Gatherum 

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