Police in Austria have obtained a confession in the February arson that caused an estimated $9.7 million in damage to a mill in Hirschwang an der Rax specializing in recycled cardboard.
The suspect, referred to a Fabian A, age 23, in press accounts, is also under investigation in the death of this four-month-old child five weeks prior to the factory fire.
About 10:30 p.m. February 23, the first reports of flames at the Mayr-Melnhof paper mill reached emergency dispatchers. Firefighters arrived to find a 4,000-square-meter warehouse already engulfed in flames, fire officials report.
Thirty-fire fire brigades from across the Neunkirchen district of Austria responded to the scene. Initially, firefighters were able to keep the fire from spreading to nearby exposures.
However, in the early hours of the 24th the weather turned against the responders. Gusty winds stirring the embers and threatened to rekindle the flames. Firefighters were on the scene through to the following day.
The fire damaged the warehouse to the extent that it could not be entered for concern it might collapse, fire officials said.
The arson suspect was an employee at the mill who worked a shift the night of the fire.