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Hindu Temple Destroyed

By: Ann Nucatola
By: Ann Nucatola

Right in the midst of the biggest Hindu celebration of the year a Tallahassee temple goes up in flames. Firefighters got the call just before 4 a.m. Thursday morning.

"We got the call and when we left the station we could actually see the temple burning from the station. When we arrived, the roof was completely gone. We could tell from the cracks in the walls the structural integrity was compromised, so we just basically did an exterior attack on the building," said Lt. Kevin Busbee, who was one of the first firefighters on scene.

Firefighters and investigators with the state fire marshal's office say they don't know what caused the blaze that destroyed the Gujarati Samaj Hindu Temple, but the fire could not have come at a worse time.

Lt. Joe Steadman with the state fire marshal's office says "They're entering a period very similar to what the Christmas holiday season is, which is associated with the Christian religion, so this has an even more profound impact on the congregation and members of the temple."

"It's called Diwali. It means Festival of Lights. All Hindus that day light up their houses, they pray, and have dinner and set off fire crackers."

Temple members say they are just devastated about the loss. This weekend they were planning a three-day-long celebration. Investigators say they have no idea yet what caused the blaze.

Now, temple members are trying to find a location large enough to hold their Diwali celebration. If you can help, please call (850) 264-6435.


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