Officials at damaged Cedar-Riverside mosque seek temporary home

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Officials at the mosque adjacent to the building destroyed by an explosion and fire in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis New Year's Day are seeking a temporary home, the Star Tribune reports.

Severe water damage left the mosque unusable, maybe for months, Dar Al-Hijrah Cultural Center Director Abdisalam Adam told the Star Tribune Thursday.

Approximately 300 people pray at the mosque at 504 Cedar Ave. S., which is considered the first Somali-American mosque in the state. And while churches in the area have stepped forward to offer temporary space, the buildings are either too far away or aren't large enough, the paper says.

The nearby Brian Coyle Center of Pillsbury United Communities has also served as a temporary location for prayers, Minnesota Public Radio says.

The bodies of two males were recovered in the aftermath of the Jan. 1 explosion, and a third man died in the hospital two days later. At least 14 people were injured, some critically, with burns and/or bone fractures after leaping from apartments in the second and third stories of the building.

The cause of the explosion and fire is still under investigation by the Minneapolis Fire Department. CenterPoint Energy said last week that no gas leaks were detected in a preliminary analysis of the gas network.

Investigators say it may be weeks before the cause of the fire is known, FOX 9 reports.

Officials began tearing down the building the day after the mishap. MPR has a photo gallery of the demolition.

Meanwhile, a benefit concert has been set to raise money for the victims and families affected by the tragedy.

Nearby radio station KFAI, as well as Augsburg College and the Cedar Cultural Center, have joined forces to organize the concert, which is scheduled for Jan. 24 at the Cedar Cultural Center.

Tickets are $20 each and will go on sale Friday at the Cedar Cultural Center box office and website.

In addition, the Confederation of Somali Community in Minnesota has launched a disaster relief fund to benefit victims.

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