The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

July 4, 2012

FBI called in to investigate suspicious fire at Joplin mosque

From staff reports

JOPLIN, Mo. — A fire at the Islamic Society of Joplin’s mosque early this morning is being treated as suspicious, according to officials.

Captain Kelly Stephens of the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department confirmed that the FBI has joined the investigation.

Carl Junction Fire Chief Bill Dunn said a passerby noticed the fire and his department got the call at 3:37 a.m. today.

“There was a fire on the edge of the roof,” Dunn said. “It burned some shingles, probably an area there four feet by six feet.”

The fire did not burn through the roof.

“If no one had seen it, I am almost certain the fire would have gone ahead and burned,” Dunn said.

After the fire was out, Dunn said he and others took a look at the roof.

“We noticed a bunch of what looked like paper up there," he said. "Somebody lit them and threw them up there.”

Rob Sterner, with the Missouri State Fire Marshal’s Office, also was called in and confirmed that an investigation is underway.

The mosque is located at 1302 Black Cat Road.

Stephens said that investigators had finished processing the scene today and that evidence was being sent off for testing. He anticipated more information to be released Thursday.

This is the second suspicious fire at the mosque since it opened in 2007.

In 2008, the FBI took over an investigation of a torching of the sign for the mosque. That crime was never solved.