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Suspected arsonist arrested in connection with Islamic Center of Tacoma fire

A 38-year-old was arrested in connection to the University Place mosque fire.

UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. — A 38-year-old was arrested in connection to a fire at a University Place mosque earlier in October.

The suspect matches the description put out on flyers in the area, according to Pierce County Sheriff's Office Sergeant Darren Moss. 

The man was arrested for first-degree arson after community members tipped off deputies.

Witnesses told the sheriff's office that the suspect was seen holding something just before the fire began, and ran away after it started.

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On Oct. 12, West Pierce Fire and Rescue responded just after 8 p.m. to the Islamic Center of Tacoma, located on the 2000 block of Bridgeport Way, and found fire coming from the roof and attic area of the building. Crews said they put the flames out quickly, but there was still fire, smoke and water damage to the interior and exterior of the building.

There were people inside the building when the fire started, but they managed to exit the building safely. 

Firefighters said a prayer service was about to begin when the fire occurred.

RELATED: Community calls on police to investigate Mountlake Terrace mosque vandalism as hate crime