Explosion in a high-rise in Ratingen: open questions and concerns about the victims

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Panorama Skyscraper near Dusseldorf

Many questions about the explosion in Ratingen – fears for the victims

Affected: North Rhine-Westphalia's Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU) at the scene

Affected: North Rhine-Westphalia’s Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU) at the scene

Source: dpa/-

The devastating explosion in a high-rise building in Ratingen leaves behind several seriously injured emergency services – and many unanswered questions. How did the detonation happen? And who is the woman whose body was in the apartment of the arrested German?

DThe explosion in a high-rise building in Ratingen with several seriously injured fire brigade and police forces left many unanswered questions. On Friday, too, the investigators are still looking for answers as to how the detonation in an apartment could have happened – and whether the emergency services might have been ambushed by the 57-year-old resident.

The Düsseldorf public prosecutor is investigating whether it is attempted manslaughter or attempted murder. In addition, the identity of a woman’s body that was found after the German was arrested in the apartment where he lived with his mother must be clarified. According to dpa information, the woman had died a long time ago.

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Explosion in Ratingen

The background of the man, who, according to North Rhine-Westphalia’s Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU), “was mentally in the corona denier environment”, also poses a mystery. This would have resulted from initial research on social media.

The Düsseldorf police gave a drastic description of what happened on Thursday evening. Accordingly, the emergency services were called to the Ratinger residential area with many high-rise buildings because there were concerns about a resident whose mailbox was overflowing.

Firefighters end their mission in Ratingen

Firefighters end their mission in Ratingen

Source: dpa/-

When the police and fire brigade were standing in front of her apartment door on the 10th floor, her 57-year-old son suddenly ripped it open, police spokesman Raimund Dockter reported. “There was an explosion immediately, immediately, i.e. a fireball came towards the colleagues from the fire brigade and police.”

Many emergency services seriously injured

As a result, a 25-year-old policewoman and a 29-year-old policeman were critically injured. “22 others sustained minor injuries,” the police said later in the evening. In addition, seven firefighters were seriously injured, three of them critically.

How the explosion was actually triggered has yet to be determined, Dockter said. After that, the suspect also started a fire, which made entering the apartment and the investigation work more difficult. It is possible that the man wanted to lure the emergency services into a trap, but cannot be confirmed at the moment.

Special forces storm the apartment

Special forces storm the apartment

Credit: AFP/ROBERTO PFEIL

Dozens of ambulances, emergency doctors, fire engines and police vehicles were involved in the large-scale operation. Special forces secured the entire high-rise building, and snipers positioned themselves on the balconies of the apartments across the street.

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Special forces finally stormed the apartment and arrested the 57-year-old. The police and the Ministry of the Interior initially gave no information as to whether the man was still resisting. Wrapped in a rescue blanket and wearing a breathing mask, according to the police, he was finally taken out of the house and to an ambulance with “serious injuries”. It remains unclear whether he was injured in the explosion or during the arrest.

“There is really hope and fear”

Ratingen’s Mayor Klaus Pesch was horrified: “Those who were in the front of the fire – ten to twelve people with the most severe burns – and who hopefully survive it, will certainly carry it with them for the rest of their lives.”

Some victims had severe burns of up to 80 percent of the skin. “There is really hope and fear.”

In Ratingen in the Mettmann district, many emergency services are known to each other. “The effect is corresponding,” said Pesch. “It’s as if a large volcanic eruption had descended on an entire family.” Psychologists and emergency chaplains were ready for the emergency services.



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