COACHELLA — A Southern California mosque was damaged Friday in a fire reported to authorities as a possible arson.
Flames were reported just after noon at the Islamic Center of Palm Springs, according to the Riverside County Fire Department. The fire was contained to the small building's front lobby, and no one was injured. Its cause is under investigation.
People there described hearing a "loud boom" and seeing flames, said Reymundo Nour, the mosque's acting imam, who was not on the site at the time. He said the mosque had been "firebombed."
A spokesman for the Riverside County Sheriff's Department declined to state whether the fire was being investigated as an arson or whether the mosque had been firebombed.
The FBI was assisting local law enforcement in determining the cause, agency spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said. The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also plans to help in the investigation.