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Hindu Celebration to Go on Despite Fire

Thursday fire gutted the Gujarati Samaj Hindu Temple on Apalachee Parkway, but help came swiftly to keep their celebration alive.

Those who used to worship there say they're devastated about the fire, especially since it happened just days before their biggest religious celebration of the year, Diwali.

Amisha Patel, a temple member, said, "At first when the kids first heard about it, the kids started to cry!"

The only thing still standing at the Gujarati Samaj Hindu Temple on Apalachee Parkway is a few door frames, but more importantly, the faith of the temple members, not just in their beliefs, but in the community where they live.

Amisha Patel said, "I'm very grateful to the Tallahassee community and the Leon County School Board. On behalf of my kids from Samaj, thank you and thank you Eyewitness News."

Temple members say after reports about the fire, they received numerous calls and offers to allow them to use different locations for their Diwali celebration. In the end it was Swift Creek Middle School to the rescue.

Bill Montford, Superintendent of Leon County Schools, says, "We're grateful we can help. We try to help our community and be of assistance."

Part of the Diwali celebration is good conquering evil, and for temple members that's exactly what's happened. Diwali means festival of lights, and it's as important to Hindus as Christmas is to Christians.

There is still no known cause to the fire, but investigators say they hope to have some answers next week.


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