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Monday, April 25, 2011

Stockton fire destroys mosque, damages Christian Center

Updated: #ATF Federal arson investigators will assist the Stockton Fire Department today as officials probe the Saturday strip mall fire that gutted a mosque and damaged a church.

Stockton Fire Battalion Chief Robert Tuitavuki said agents with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were requested to join the investigation. Tuitavuki said the ATF is often available for assistance on "high-interest" cases.Investigators initially delayed investigations of the two-alarm blaze because the damage was extensive enough to make it unsafe, officials said.

Tuitavuki said the site is secure and that investigators will begin clearing heavy debris today.
Original Story: Stockton, Calif. - Stockton fire officials are investigating the cause of a strip mall fire that destroyed a mosque and damaged a church.

Deputy Fire Chief Paul Willette says nearly 40 firefighters spent an hour battling the two-alarm fire on North Pershing Avenue after it was reported around 4:15 a.m. Saturday.

The Stockton Record says no one was injured by the blaze that gutted the Masjid Al-Emaan Mosque, as well as the Reliance Real Estate office next door.

The mosque's president says he doesn't know where its roughly 100 members would go to pray now.

Officials at the Living Water Ministries & Christian Center say the small church suffered smoke and water damage.

The fire also led to the evacuation of an apartment complex behind the strip mall.___
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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.
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