KANSAS CITY, Missouri - Fire investigators say the damage inside a Kansas City mosque destroyed in a three-alarm fire Monday morning is so extensive, it will take several days to dig through the rubble to determine the cause.
It broke out about 3 a.m. at a three-story building in the 4600 block of St. John Avenue.
“When crews arrived, they found a heavy body of fire in the building,” Kansas City fire chief Smokey Dyer said.
The chief said arriving fire crews immediately decided to fight the blaze defensively, meaning staying outside the burning building.
About 75 fire fighters were called to the scene to put out the fire, that spread to a neighboring one-car garage, Dyer said.
Federal ATF agents were also on scene investigating the fire, which is protocol because the fire happened at a place of worship.
Masjidal Hudah mosque occupied the first floor of the building. The second and third floors were vacant. Dyer said the building is a complete loss.
Mustafa Hussein worships at the mosque and is a member of the Islamic Society of Greater Kansas City. He says the adults can easily find a new place to pray but they are concerned about the weekend school inside the mosque.
"They had about 160 students, male and female that mainly go to the public schools and here is where they get their education about Islam, about the Holy Koran, about Arabic language, and that's what this building is mainly used for," said Hussein.
Fire investigators and ATF agents will return to the scene Tuesday morning to continue their investigation into a cause.