Under-construction gurdwara in US destroyed in fire
Washington :An under-construction gurdwara, which was set to serve Portland metro area’s largest Sikh community in the Washington state, was destroyed in a massive fire apparently caused by gas leak. The former athletic-club-turned-Sikh-gurdwara, valued at $ 213,000, burned to the ground early Friday after the fire sparked just before 2:30 am local time at the 17,000 square-foot property in the east Vancouver Landover-Sharmel neighbourhood, ‘The Columbian’ reported. The Guru Ramdass Sikh Community, the largest Sikh group in the Portland metro area with about 200 member families, had bought the building in 2008 and had nearly completed renovations. They planned to move from their small Rose Village gurdwara on O Street to the new building in December, the Sikh group’s
member Gurjit Singh was quoted as saying. “It was devastating,” group president Sarabjeet Teja said of the fire. “We’ve been working on this the last four years.” The gurdwara stood in charred ruins as smoke filled the neighbourhood. Parts of debris of the building were spotted in yards hundreds of feet away. The building is a total loss, said Vancouver Fire Dept. spokesman Capt. Kevin Murray. According to county property records, it was valued at $ 213,000. Murray said, the fire was reported by neighbours. When the first engine arrived seven minutes later, the entire building was engulfed in flames, he said. “The captain on Engine 10 said it was the largest fire he had ever seen and he’s a 25-year veteran,” Murray said. Two men, believed to be construction contractors, were staying in the building. They were awakened by the fire and escaped without injury, Murray said.
Gandhi statue unveiled in Florida town
WASHINGTON : A seven-foot tall bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi has been unveiled in a Florida town by former President A P J Abdul Kalam. The mayor of Davie town, Judy Paul, who joined the former Indian President in unveiling the Gandhi statue on October 2, declared the day as ‘World Peace & Mahatma Gandhi Day’. The 800 pound statue was sculpted by Matt Glenn of Big Statues, Provo, Utah in cooperation with Sculptor’s Guild. As a token of respect to Gandhi, they also contributed toward the cost of the statue, a media release said. Babu Varghese, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Mahatma Gandhi Square Florida – a Corporation organised for the purpose — and an Engineer by profession, designed the Gandhi Square with half an acre of land that houses the Statue. The square patterns with alternating colored step stones leading to the statue represent the steps Gandhi took in his lifetime struggle to achieve freedom to his people. These steps are bordered by lighted stone pillars which represent a “pathway of light” leading up to the Statue itself.