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Bonn: 51-year-old man in court: Cigarette allegedly caused devastating fire in Weihers Eck

Bonn: 51-year-old man in court : Cigarette allegedly caused devastating fire in Weihers Eck

A 51-year-old man from the Sauerland region will soon have to stand trial for arson through negligence. He is suspected of being responsible for the fire in the Weihers Eck restaurant in Bonn's old town.

Two years ago, on 28 June, there was a fire in the building of the Weihers Eck restaurant in Maxstraße. Now, probably in April, a 51-year-old man from Sauerland will have to answer for negligent arson before the Bonn District Court. The public prosecutor's office assumes that he caused the fire during an overnight stay in the adjoining hotel because he had not completely extinguished a cigarette.

The fire had broken out around 3.15 a.m. in the night. Thanks to the dedicated help of an uninvolved reveller, the hotel guests who had fled into the open were rescued from the roof onto the canopy of a neighbouring building. The man had unceremoniously leaned a nearby ladder against the burning hotel. After the fire brigade arrived, the remaining people were also taken off the roof and the hotel's roof truss was extinguished after a good half hour. Five hotel guests and one firefighter were slightly injured, another guest seriously.

Cigarette probably the cause of the fire

Investigators suspect a smouldering cigarette as the cause of the fire. The source of the fire had been in the room of the accused man from Sauerland. Apparently, an aluminium bowl with stubbed out cigarettes was found in the man's room. The accused, however, stated that he had not smoked at all. Rather, he had only been awakened by noises and voices and had only noticed the fire and smoke in the hallway. There was no fire in his room.

The hotel with a total of nine rooms on the top floor was completely destroyed in the fire. The restaurant below was also badly damaged. Neighbours had started a fundraising campaign shortly afterwards to help the popular innkeeper.

(Original text: Leif Kubik, Translation: Mareike Graepel)