Every report on this story calls the fire something different: Mosque. Mortuary. Cemetery. Some call it a Mosque at a Cemetery site. Whatever!
No suspects were seen in the area and no injuries were reported after firefighters spent four hours dousing the intense flames, Clark County Fire Chief Bertral Washington said, as federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents searched for evidence at the dusty, sprawling industrial site northeast of downtown.
An FBI agent also questioned contractors on the job, who later declined to be interviewed by The Associated Press. “They’re investigating whether it was arson, a hate crime or something like that,” said Aslam Abdullah, director of the Islamic Society of Nevada.
Abdullah said construction of the building began more than a year ago, and it was slated to open this year as a funeral gathering center for services at the first dedicated Islamic cemetery in the Las Vegas area.
Khalid Khan, society president since 1986, said he was saddened by the fire but called it too early to make any judgment about a cause. He said investigators told him that they thought vandals might be to blame.
“They believe it was not an accident,” Khan said.
Washington said there was no electricity or natural gas service to the building, which workers said was about 80 percent complete. The chief estimated the loss at about $1.5 million.