I sat last night and watched state-run news on Channel One (ARD).
So, there's this odd episode. Up in the northern part of Germany (Ahrensfelde).....there's this local volunteer fire department.
They had a couple of fires to attend to....mostly involving hay which caught on fire. It didn't make any sense to the locals. An investigation occurred, and eventually....they came to suspect members of the volunteer fire department.
The court case wrapped up and there's some probation and fines handed out via the court to the fire department members.
Fines ranged for four members to somewhere between three-hundred to a thousand Euro. One of them got 18 months of prison but all on probation.....as long as he doesn't repeat anything....he stays out of jail.
The judge seemed a bit peeved about the attitudes of the four and ordered all of them to get psychological counseling. No one said much about their membership in the volunteer fire department.....I would assume they were relieved of duty and won't be allowed back. Maybe I'm wrong on that, but I just don't see how you'd trust these guys ever again.
This brings me around to my local region of Hesson....where we've seen hay-fires and barn-fires over the past year on a number of occasions, and it makes me wonder if we've got some nutcase-firemen here in this state.
For most small towns and villages in Germany.....the volunteer fire departments are a significant element of the local community. It used to be a male-only thing but you tend to notice some younger women getting into this now.
People who participate in the unit....get respect. Once they cross this line and do something stupid....it hurts the image.