Suspect detained after blast at residential building in Germany injures police, firefighters

BERLIN (AP) — German police have detained a suspect in connection with an explosion at a residential building that injured dozens of first responders on Thursday, some of them seriously, officials said.

Police said two officers and three firefighters received life-threatening injuries in the blast at a high-rise building in the town of Ratingen. Four firefighters were seriously injured and 22 police officers suffered minor injuries, they said.

The body of a dead woman was recovered from the building, police said. The identity of the person and the circumstances of her death weren’t immediately known.

Firefighters and police were initially called to the building in the morning after being alerted about the possibility of a person in distress inside a 10th floor apartment.

Police said they were still investigating what caused the blast, which happened shortly after the suspect opened the apartment door. The man then started a fire, preventing police from entering the unit.

Following the explosion, heavily armed officers took up positions around the site, with television footage showing police snipers on a balcony across the road from the building as smoke poured out of a top-floor apartment.

Hours later, a 57-year-old German man was detained on suspicion of homicide, police said.

The interior minister of North Rhine-Westphalia state, Herbert Reul, said social media posts indicated the man had shown an affinity for ideas downplaying the threat posed by the coronavirus.

Ratingen is located on the northeastern outskirts of Duesseldorf, the state capital.

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