Joplin Mosque Burns in “Suspicious” Fire


Mosque Fire

At 3:33 a.m. last night, 911 dispatch received a call concerning a possible roof fire at the Islamic Center of Joplin located at 1302 South Black Cat Road in Joplin.

The Carl Junction Fire Department and the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office responded to the fire. Though the building is considered a total loss, nobody was inside the building.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, in conjunction with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office and the Missouri Department of Fire Safety, are currently investigating the cause of the fire.

The case is being investigated in relation to a July 4 fire at the center. Officials are investigating if the fires are connected in any way.

After the July 4 fire, officials released a video of a man attempting to ignite the building. The initial fire only burned some shingles, stopping there rather than going through the roof.

The mosque, now the scene of a second fire, is still the site of an ongoing investigation that involves reconstructing the scene, identifying the cause of origin of the fire, conducting interviews and sifting through debris to obtain and collect evidence related to the incident.

The process will take a couple of days, according to FBI Special Agent in Charge, Michael Kaste.

“No stone will be left unturned until we can find the cause of this fire,” Jasper County Sheriff, Archie Dunn, said. “We will not rest until this crime is solved and someone is arrested for it”.

There are approximately 30 FBI Special Agents assigned to this incident.

The case is currently in the preliminary stages of investigation, according to Kaste. Until a cause is determined, the fire will not be labeled as a crime. When the investigation of the scene is completed, a determination will be made as to whether or not this fire is a result of arson.

Authorities are, however, calling the fire “suspicious.”

“If this fire is determined to be deliberate in nature it will be investigated to the fullest extent possible,” said Kaste.

The FBI and ATF announced a $15,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and indictment of the person or persons responsible for the fire at the center on July 4. According to Kaste if the second fire to the center is determined to be arson, the reward will increase.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations has also offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons who may be responsible for this second fire.

Currently, the Jasper County sheriff’s deputies are on special patrol for other churches and worship centers in the area. Officers are patrolling areas in shift’s to ensure the safety of other buildings, according to Dunn.