TAMPA -- A fire that caused $25,000 worth of damage to the Masjid Omar mosque was ruled arson by the Tampa Fire Rescue.
Testing of samples at the scene the August 5 fire revealed the use of gasoline as an accelerant.
Investigators initially believed the fire was caused by a faulty electrical cord inside the mosque, but the case remained open pending the results of the state fire marshal's lab tests.
"We knew from the beginning. The whole place smelled like gasoline," said Amir Khan, a mosque member.
According to the report, the mosque's officials said to investigators they believed someone poured gasoline onto the building's air conditioner unit the night of August 5. It was the samples from the AC unit that showed the presence of gasoline.
"Ninety nine point nine percent we have a very good community, we have excellent people whether it's Jewish, Christian, Muslim, we are all one unit, one nation, one country but there's always one person who is mentally sick," Khan said.
The mosque did not sustain significant structural damage during the blaze. Also, no injuries were reported.
The mosque is uninsured, and Khan estimates repairs will be around $100-thousand dollars.
"There's always something good that comes out of it. It's going to bring people together," Khan said.
A $3,000 reward has been offered by Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay for any information leading to the identification and arrest of any and all suspects in this case. To be eligible for the reward contact Crime Stoppers at 800-873-TIPS (8477) report anonymously online or through the P3 Tips mobile application.