You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

Fire destroys partially constructed Islamic Center of Lake Travis


Highlights

The Islamic Center of Lake Travis was set to be completed in a few months.

The Travis County fire marshal is investigating the fire, which happened in Austin’s coldest night in 6 years.

About 50 people decided to create the Islamic center after coming together to help Steiner Ranch fire victims.

A fire early Saturday completely burned down a building that had been under construction by the Islamic Center of Lake Travis and was just a few months away from completion.

Lake Travis Fire and Rescue received a call at about 3:30 a.m. about a fire in the 4700 block of Doss Road in Lake Travis’ Hudson Bend area, according to a news release. When firefighters arrived, the three-story building was fully engulfed in flames.

The Travis County fire marshal is investigating the cause of the fire. No injuries were reported.

Islamic Center of Lake Travis board member Shakeel Rashed said all that remains of the building is the concrete foundation.

“We are shocked, and it’s a bit of surprise because we were not expecting something like this,” Rashed said. “Something that we worked so hard for, seeing that in a sad state is not easy.”

Rashed emphasized that the group didn’t want to speculate on the fire’s cause until the investigation is complete. Neither the electrical system nor gas connections had been installed yet, he said, but “it could possibly be anything,” even someone looking for shelter who might have started a fire for warmth on a night that was Austin’s coldest in six years.

As far as whether it could have been a religiously motivated crime, Rashed said: “We really, really hope and believe that it’s not that.”

The organization had cameras installed inside and outside the building, which the fire marshal will be reviewing, he added.

Ironically, Rashed said, it was a fire that had originally brought together the members of the Islamic Center of Lake Travis after they helped raise funds for victims of the 2011 Steiner Ranch wildfire. That involvement led him and about 50 other community members to realize that there was a sizable Muslim community and a need for an Islamic center in the area.

“We are very active within the overall community here … and it’s sad to see this, but this (fire) doesn’t take anything away from that,” Rashed said.

The group has been meeting in various other places in the meantime and is most active during Ramadan, the holiest month of the Muslim calendar. It also runs a Sunday school program for children.

The organization definitely plans to rebuild so long as that is still what the community wants, Rashed said. About four years ago, members raised about $500,000 for the new center, and more than $250,000 of that went toward the construction, he said. The group will need to again raise money to start anew on the building.

“First we want to know what happened here, and we will work with the Travis County department to figure out how to best secure this place for the future and everything else,” Rashed said, “but we do want our community to have a center in this area.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Showers and thunderstorms predicted Sunday afternoon, evening

Central Texas will see mostly cloudy skies today, with a 40 percent chance of of showers and thunderstorms after 1 p.m., the National Weather Service says. Some of the storms could be severe. The high will be near 89, with heat index values rising as high as 97. Tonight’s forecast calls for a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, and...
Legislature approves strict caps for unpaid tolls
Legislature approves strict caps for unpaid tolls

The Texas House and Senate Saturday approved a compromise version of Senate Bill 312, the must-pass Texas Department of Transportation sunset bill, sending it on to Gov. Greg Abbott for his signature. That final version of the bill, worked out by its sponsor Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, and a House-Senate conference committee in recent days...
Study: Dads’ brains respond differently to daughters than sons
Study: Dads’ brains respond differently to daughters than sons

Fathers with toddler daughters are more attentive and responsive to their needs than fathers with toddler sons, according to a study published in an American Psychological Association journal. >> Read more trending news  Behavorial Neuroscience journal. Fathers of young boys engaged in more rough-and-tumble play and used more achievement-related...
Girl turns Justin Trudeau’s office into a pillow fort
Girl turns Justin Trudeau’s office into a pillow fort

A 5-year-old girl who got to be prime minister for a day in Canada put Justin Trudeau to work, directing him in building a pillow fort, the Huffington Post reported. >> Read more trending news When Bella Thompson won a CBC Kids’ contest, she went to Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, and made her unique request. Trudeau obliged...
Father fashions feeding tube to match son’s
Father fashions feeding tube to match son’s

A Virginia man continues to show support for his young son, who was born with a congenital heart defect, by sharing a photo of himself and the 3-year-old boy wearing feeding tubes. >> Read more trending news Robert Selby, whose son Chace requires a feeding tube, fashioned one of his own and glued it on to match his son in the Instagram photo...
More Stories