Psychologist: Boy didn't recognize deadly consequences of setting fire

Feb. 10, 2014 at 11:17 AM

HAMBURG, Germany, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- A teenage German fire brigade cadet who set a house fire that killed three people didn't realize the deadly consequences of his actions, a doctor said.

The director of the youth psychiatric home where the 13-year-old was confined said the boy did not comprehend the potential consequences of the fire he admitted he started in the hallway of a home for refugees in Hamburg, TheLocal.de reported Monday

The Wednesday night fire killed a 33-year-old Pakistani woman and her two preteen children, authorities said. Another 27 people were injured, 15 of whom required hospitalization.

Detectives determined the blaze was set by the 13-year-old after they interviewed witnesses and watched security video.

Police said in a statement Saturday the teen, a member of the Hamburg fire brigade cadets, confessed to sneaking into the house and lighting a fire in a baby carriage that was in a hallway, TheLocal.de reported.

Michael Schulte-Markwort, director of the psychiatric clinic, said in a statement, "The consequences of his actions were not clear to him. His actions were neither politically nor personally motivated."

Schulte-Markwort said the boy didn't have any knowledge about the house or its occupants, and he wasn't "one of these arsonists who want to experience a call-out with the fire brigade," the Hamburger Morgenpost reported.

"His membership of the fire brigade cadets was important to him for a feeling of belonging," Schulte-Markwort said.

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