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UK Fire Destroys Abbotsbord Temple

spnadmin

1947-2014 (Archived)
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Jun 17, 2004
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Published: August 26, 2010 9:00 AM
Updated: August 26, 2010 9:43 AM


A fire that destroyed a Sikh temple in Abbotsford early this morning (Thursday) is being investigated as suspicious.


The blaze occurred at about 4 a.m. at 31597 Townshipline Rd. at a temple owned and used by the Sant Baba Vasakha Singh Sikh Society. Fire crews arrived to find the structure fully ablaze with heavy smoke and flames coming through the roof.


A total of 24 firefighters and six trucks responded to the scene. No injuries were reported.


Damage estimates are not available at this time. However, the structure was destroyed.


Abbotsford Police and Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service are investigating.
Watch abbynews.com for updates.


http://www.bclocalnews.com/news/101570793.html
 

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Jan 7, 2005
3,450
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Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Fire destroys Abbotsford Sikh temple



A Sikh temple on Townshipline Road was destroyed by fire early this morning (Thursday).
John Van Putten

By Vikki Hopes - Abbotsford News
Published: August 26, 2010 9:00 AM
Updated: August 26, 2010 4:49 PM


An Abbotsford Sikh temple destroyed by fire early this morning (Thursday) has a history that dates back to the 1940s, when it was a small prairie chapel.

The blaze, which occurred at 31957 Townshipline Road on Matsqui Prairie, has been deemed suspicious by investigators with the Abbotsford Police and Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service (AFRS).

Area resident Doug Rennie, 82, who still lives on the same dairy farm on which he was born and raised, said he was surprised to see the destruction.
"It's kind of a landmark here ... I'm kind of sad to see it go," he said, as he stopped at the scene.

Rennie said the one-storey structure was built in the 1940s and used to be known as the Gifford Chapel. His two sons purchased it about six years ago as an investment and sold it about a year later to the Sant Baba Vasakha Singh Sikh Society.

The building has since been used as a Sikh worship centre with a residence for the priest. It is on the same property as the Gurmat Center Preschool, which once operated as Glenmore School. Rennie said he attended the school 75 years ago.

Lieut. Keith Dyck of AFRS said the Sikh temple was unoccupied at the time of the fire, which occurred at about 4 a.m. Thursday.

He said the priest was away on vacation, and the holy scriptures had been removed for safe keeping in his absence. However, numerous other religious artifacts and symbols were destroyed.

Dyck said the blaze started in the back of the building, where the worship area was located. That portion of the building was completely caved in, while the front of the building – the priest's residence – was still standing, although it was gutted.

Dyck said the exact cause is still under investigation, and the fire is not believed to be linked to other arsons that have occurred in Abbotsford this year.

Abbotsford Police Const. Ian MacDonald said the investigation will continued based on evidence gathered from the scene and witness statements.

A spokesperson for the Sant Baba Vasakha Singh Sikh Society could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

source:
http://www.bclocalnews.com/news/101570793.html
 
Jan 7, 2005
3,450
3,760
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Fire destroys Abbotsford Sikh temple; owners plan to rebuild

By Vikki Hopes - Abbotsford News

August 27, 2010 4:14 PM

The owners of the Abbotsford Sikh temple destroyed by fire early Thursday morning are planning to rebuild.

Harwant Brar, volunteer administrator of the Sant Baba Vasakha Singh Sikh Society, said the facility – located at 31957 Townshipline Rd. – was used as a Sunday school for youth from the ages of six to late teens. Evening classes were held in reading and writing Punjabi, and some adults also attended.

Brar said the registered number of students ranged from 250 to 350 at any one time.

Many were looking forward to starting a new school year in September.

"We have no choice but to rebuild," he said, adding that he cannot anticipate when that will start.

Brar said families and members of the society were shocked to hear of the blaze, which has been deemed suspicious by police and fire investigators.

Fire crews were called to the scene at about 4 a.m. The blaze started in the back of the building, where the entire roof caved in.

The front of the building – the caretaker's residence – was left standing, although it was gutted. The facility was unoccupied at the time.

Brar said the temple has experienced some minor vandalism in the past. A caretaker lived on site until July 31, but vacated the position and a new one had not yet been hired.

The holy scriptures had been removed when the caretaker left, due to fears of them being stolen or vandalized, but other books and items were destroyed.

Brar said no one could have anticipated what happened on Thursday.
"We can't fathom somebody having any motivation to do something like that."

He said the society purchased the building about seven years ago. It was the former Gifford Chapel, built in the 1940s.

The society had previously bought the Gurmat Center Preschool – formerly Glenmore School – on the same property, and added a gym about five years ago. Neither the gym nor preschool were damaged in the fire.

Area resident Doug Rennie, 82, who still lives on the same dairy farm on which he was born and raised and attended Glenmore School 75 years ago, said he was surprised to see the destruction.

"It's kind of a landmark here ... I'm kind of sad to see it go," he said.
Rennie's two sons purchased the building as an investment and sold it about a year later to the Sant Baba Vasakha Singh Sikh Society.

Lieut. Keith Dyck of Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service said the exact cause of the fire is still under investigation, and it is not believed to be linked to other arsons that have occurred in Abbotsford this year.

Abbotsford Police Const. Ian MacDonald said the investigation will continued based on evidence gathered from the scene and witness statements.

Brar said he hopes investigators find the person or people involved.

"Somebody has done a very large wrong to the Sikh youth in Abbotsford."

source: http://www.bclocalnews.com/news/101570793.html
 

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