Fourteen-Year-Old Bailed After Mosque Blaze

Seventy firefighters tackle blaze in Morden

Two teenage boys were questioned after a fire in an administration building at the Baitul Futuh Mosque in Morden on Saturday (September 26).

Ten fire engines and 70 firefighters and officers were called to a fire in building on London Road in Morden just after noon yesterday.

The fire affected the administration building and associated halls next to the mosque, which is the largest in western Europe.

Two boys, aged 16 and 14, were arrested on Sunday (September 27) under suspicion of arson. The 16-year-old was released, with no further action. But police said the 14-year-old was bailed pending further enquiries until a date in early January.

In a statement, they said: "While enquiries into the circumstances continue, there is nothing to suggest at this stage that this is a hate crime. Officers from Merton CID investigate."

The ancillary building suffered extensive damage to its ground floor, first floor and roof in the fire. But the mosque itself was unaffected.

Around 30 people left the building before firefighters arrived, including one man who was taken to hospital by London Ambulance Service suffering from smoke inhalation.

London Fire Brigade Station Manager Philip Morton who was at the scene said: "This was a large fire and our crews worked hard in difficult conditions to confine it to the administrative buildings on the site and thanks to their efforts the mosque itself escaped completely unscathed. Throughout the incident we worked closely with the local community to ensure our damage control operations took into account the religious significance of the building's contents."

Rafiq Hayat, national president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK, said: "By the Grace of God the mosque is safe and unaffected and there were no injuries and no loss of life."

Merton's Conservative Group Leader, Cllr Oonagh Moulton, said: "I would like to offer the thoughts and prayers of all Conservative councillors to the local Ahmadiyya community in Merton and the leaders of the Baitul Futuh Mosque.

"We have been shocked by this disaster to hit our community and we fully support all the efforts being made now, and over the coming months, to rebuild the damage. At this challenging time we all hold especially dear your motto ‘Love for all, hatred for none'".

The Brigade was called at 1206 and the fire was under control by 1732. Crews from New Malden, Wandsworth, Tooting, Sutton, Mitcham, Norbury and other surrounding fire stations attended the incident.

Firefighters remained at the scene into Saturday evening damping down the fire.

September 28, 2015