An early morning structure fire broke out at 0244 hours on Saturday, January 15th, severely damaging the Islamic Center of Eastside on the 14700 block and Main Street in Bellevue, Washington.
Firefighters were quickly dispatched to the Crossroads mosque fire and were met by 40-foot flames shooting up from the rear of the two-story wood frame building, presumably built-in the 1970’s and listed without sprinklers.
Credit: Bellevue Fire Department
Multiple hose lines were laid and firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the fire and able to save half of the structure. Additionally, during salvage they saved numerous religious books and electronic equipment.
13 fire apparatus were on scene.
Firefighters also performed primary and secondary searches in the building and finding no occupants. It was found to be a unoccipied building.
There were no civilian or firefighter injuries reported.
At the fire scene, the BFD called Bellevue Police to respond to the mosque for a possible person-of-interest on the North side of the building. Police Officers would be dispatched and find the person whom they would arrest for arson and for having a Seattle PD warrant. He was arrested with seven minutes from time of dispatch to arriving on-scene.
Police say the suspect, (whom we are not naming though BPD has due to suspects have many rights including are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law) acted alone and is not being considered as an act of terrorism. They have ruled this out due to his statements, pattern of behavior and evidence collected at the scene. This suspect has an extensive criminal record.
“This is an attack on the Muslim community and an attack on all our Bellevue residents. We must pray for them and come together as a community.” – Bellevue Police Chief Steve Mylett.
Police are continuing to work with the ATF and FBI in this case.
The Prosecutor’s Office stated they are not treated this as a hate crime as there is not enough evidence to support that cause. Police are still trying to figure out this suspect’s motive for the fire.
Police Investigators are working with the Redmond Police Department due to another church in the area was hit by fire. They are looking at if this has any connection to the Redmond Fire.
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