Fire officials say a fire that damaged a Tampa area mosque was arson.
Hillsborough County Fire Rescue said in a news release the blaze occurred early Friday at the Islamic Society of New Tampa.
Fire investigators responded at around 2 a.m. and after gathering evidence they determined the fire was intentionally set. No one was there when the fire started.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations in Florida says an alarm company notified a mosque board member early Friday, and he found first responders there when he arrived.
Here's information from investigators:
There were rumors spread from the scene that there were gunshots through an exterior door at the Mosque. Through our investigation on scene those rumors have been verified to be false.
We are in the beginning stages of our investigation, and more information will be released as it becomes available. The public is asked to call 1-877-662-7766 with any information.
CAIR Florida is offering a $5,000 award for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible.
The group says investigators from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives also responded. CAIR says the fire started at a door to the prayer hall. There was damage to the door and carpet inside from sprinkler water and smoke.