Overnight fire guts Sacramento Sikh temple

| March 14, 2010

SACRAMENTO, CA – All day long, members of a Sikh congregation have come to see the burned remains of their temple on Power Inn and Rangeview roads in south Sacramento.

Sulakhan Singh, one of the members, learned late Thursday flames erupted in the temple, setting off a fire alarm.

"Everything's gone. Totally lost. My priest was sleeping inside. He doesn't know what happened. He woke up and saw a lot of smoke," said Singh.

The priests said he called 911. Sacramento Metro District fire officials said firefighters arrived within two minutes of the 11:30 p.m call . They knocked down the flames quickly but the inferno had already gutted the inside. The priest got out without injury.

Capt. Rusty Dupray said investigators will try to determine the cause.

"We collect samples throughout the entire burn area to see if there are chemicals involved or accelerant. I'm not saying that they're there but we check for everything," Dupray said.

Fire investigators want to know if the blaze was set intentionally.

"Anytime there's a religious building involved we have to consider that there's a possibility of a hate crime," Dupray said.

Fire officials estimated damage to the building and contents at $250,000.

Singh said the temple's holy books were not damaged and the church leader was in India.

FBI and Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents were also investigating.



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Category: Temple Security (Hindu and Sikh)

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