At least seven fire trucks responded to a blaze inside the 24 Somali Mall in Minneapolis’ Phillips neighborhood before it was quickly extinguished Friday evening. The mall reopened just before 7 p.m.
The mall, at 912 East 24th Street, is south of downtown Minneapolis. It houses several businesses and eateries catering to the Twin Cities’ Somali population, as well as a mosque.
There were no reports of injuries. And although the Minneapolis Fire Department did not release a cause of the fire, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Minnesota) tweeted that it appeared to have been accidental.
Up to 400 people watched from the streets as firefighters worked. No flames were visible from outside the mall, but video from the scene showed black smoke pouring from one section of the mall’s roof.
Jaylani Hussein, executive director of CAIR-Minnesota, was at the scene Friday evening.
“I just want to remind the community that based on some of the evidence that we saw, it does not appear to be a hate crime,” he told Sahan Journal. “So therefore, we want our community to be at ease, and we’ll wait for the official information from the fire department and police department.”
Several Twin Cities mosques have been targeted by vandalism in recent weeks.