CRIME

Arson Reportedly Suspected As Cause Of Fire At Houston Islamic Center

02/15/2015 11:50 am ET

As inspectors continue to probe the cause of a fire at an Islamic center in Houston, reports have emerged that an accelerant was used in the blaze.

The fire in one of the buildings of the Quba Islamic Institute erupted on Friday at 5 a.m., according to KTRK.

The Houston Fire Department told KTRK an accelerant was used, which usually means the fire was intentionally set.

Ahsan Zahid, assistant Imam at the center, told the Houston Chronicle that investigators have two working theories for why and how the fire was started. It was either sparked by someone who wanted to damage the facility, or it was started by a homeless person who broke in to the building to escape the cold.

Officials from the Council on American-Islamic Relations told KTRK the incident should be investigated as a hate crime.

The destroyed building was used as a storage facility and no one was hurt in the blaze.

Earlier in the week, an unknown masked man had been chased off the property, Reuters previously reported.

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