Person of interest in Coachella mosque fire detained

COACHELLA, Calif. (KABC) -- A person of interest has been detained after a fire started at a Coachella mosque from a possible firebomb, according to officials.

The fire was reported at about 12:10 p.m. at the Islamic Society of Palm Springs in the 84600 block of Avenue 49 on Friday.

Later Friday evening, the Riverside County Sheriff's Department said they believe the fire was intentionally set.

The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives and Cal-Fire are aiding in the investigation of the fire.

ABC affiliate station KESQ-TV said officials of the mosque saw someone throw a Molotov cocktail at the front of the structure.

The blaze was contained to the front lobby area, but smoke damage was reported throughout the mosque.

No injuries were reported in the fire.

Officials didn't give specifics about the person of interest, just that they were quickly identified, located and detained pending further investigation.

The sheriff's department said the case could possibly be charged as a hate crime.

Officials are urging anyone with information about the fire to call (760) 341-7867. Callers can remain anonymous.
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