Kansas City fire investigators are working to determine the cause of a three-alarm fire that destroyed a mosque in Kansas City, Missouri, early Monday morning. Federal Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents are also on the scene to investigate the blaze—-standard procedure when a place of worship is involved in a fire.
Firefighters responded to the fire around 3 a.m. Monday morning and were forced to fight it from the exterior, according to reports from a local NBC station. Kansas City fire chief Richard “Smokey” Dyer told reporters that 75 firefighters were called to the scene.
The Masjid Al-Huda mosque was located on the first floor of a three-story building. It was donated to the Islamic Center of Greater Kansas City in 1998, to be used as a place of worship for the then growing Somali community, said Mustafa Hussein, the center’s manager. He said the mosque was very popular and served between 300 and 400 people during Friday services. Children also attended religious weekend school there.
The mosque had very good relationships with its neighbors, according to Hussein, who said he didn’t believe foul play was involved in the blaze. “We haven’t had any threats,” he said. “So far, there’s no indication to say this was an outside job. As of today, we really don’t know what happened.”
He said the building is completely destroyed and will need to be demolished. “I just talked to our insurance agent, and the building is not safe. It has to go,” he said.
Fire investigators remain on the scene Tuesday in an effort to determine the cause of the blaze.