Travis Co. mosque fire case may never be solved

TRAVIS COUNTY - After two months of investigating the cause of a fire that destroyed a mosque under construction on Lake Travis, officials said they may never know the exact cause of the blaze. 

The Islamic Center of Lake Travis was supposed to open in April, but it burned down during the early morning hours of Jan. 7.

Investigators confirmed to KVUE's Tony Plohetski that they've narrowed the cause down to three possible scenarios.

The first being arson, which they have been investigating since the beginning.

However, uncovered evidence of other fires by landowners in the area --  hinders that initial theory. Now investigators believe it's possible an ember may have traveled to the site and sparked the fire.

They've also documented several homeless people in the area and think one of them could have started a fire near the area to keep warm -- but it got out of hand.

Deputy Fire Marshal Daniel Berger said investigators are not ready to give up just yet.

"It's been several hundred man hours... A lot of investment by a lot of people in this office, spending a lot of time just tracking down leads, trying to dig up information, turning over rocks, trying to find anything we can that may be helpful," Berger said.

"We're in the business of fire prevention and fire investigation. We want to be able to have closure anytime something like this happens we want to be able to give people an answer to why it did," Berger added.

Investigators have reviewed hundreds of hours of security video from businesses in the area, but it hasn't yielded any clues.

They also are awaiting results from the FBI, who are analyzing data from cell towers in the area to see if they can identify any arson suspects.

As of Tuesday, March 7, over $73,000 has been raised to rebuild the Mosque. Officials estimate $400,000  is needed to complete the project.

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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