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Fire service raps mosque fire ‘fat fryer' claims

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Fire service raps mosque fire ‘fat fryer' claims
Police are investigating the attack in December. Photo: TT
13:49 CET+01:00
The lead investigator looking into the fire at a mosque in central Sweden on Christmas Day has told The Local it is ‘very unlikely' the damage was caused by an overheated deep fat fryer, despite contradictory comments from a police source on Monday.

David Hultman, who has been leading the fire service's investigation since December said: “We have been looking at different possibilities but a deep fryer has never been a theory that we have been working on”.

“A deep fryer would probably be located in the kitchen and yet this is the only place with just secondary [less severe] damage from the fire…so it is very unlikely given what we have seen from looking at the soot and particles on the walls,” he added.

The investigator’s comments come after a police source told local newspaper Eskilstuna-Kuriren on Monday that an overheated deep fat fryer was the source of the blaze.

Initial reports suggested that the fire started after someone threw a burning object into the building in the city of Eskilstuna, some 90 kilometres west of Stockholm, leading to much speculation that the alleged attack was an anti-Islamic hate crime.

Around 70 people were in the mosque when the fire took hold and many of them fled through windows to escape the fire.

Anti-racism rallies attracted thousands of people in the days following the fire which took place around the same time as two similar alleged attacks on Swedish mosques in Eslöv and Uppsala

Some campaigners used the rallies to blame the rise of the nationalist Sweden Democrat party for increasing Islamphobia in Sweden.

Mosque fires threaten Sweden's 'paradise' reputation

Police in Eskilstuna would not confirm the deep fat fryer claims on Monday and said the investigation was still ongoing.

Local media reports on Tuesday suggested that Eskilstuna police were blaming police in neighbouring Västmanland for the leak.

“As far as I understand, this ‘information’ about the fire did not come from police in this town who have been working on this case.  I am not really sure who came up with this,” Hultman told The Local from Eskilstuna.

But he said that while arson was still being considered by investigators, they had now ruled out the possibility that a bottle or object containing a flammable liquid had been thrown into the building.
 
“We have not found evidence of burnable liquids in the mosque so we have eliminated this…but it is possible that vandalism was the cause,” he said.
 
The fire service's full report on the fire is set to be released before the end of the month.
 
“The point where we are right now is that we have been collecting documentation and pictures and we are pretty well informed about the evidence. In this specific case the fire developed over a long period of time so the cause was not immediately obvious. In our report we will be eliminating what did not cause the fire and will present a number of possibilities…including arson,” added Hultman.
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