Search

Worshippers in shock as firefighters battle to save temple

PUBLISHED: 19:15 16 March 2009 | UPDATED: 14:11 05 October 2010

photo

photo

SHOCKED worshippers have been arriving from all over London to witness the blaze that swept through a major Sikh temple in the East End. Many were close to tears this-afternoon, watching the flames sweep through the upper floor of the ornately decorated Gudwara Sikh Sangat with its classical pillared entrance. Ten emergency crews were mobilised to the sangat at Harley Grove in Bow where fire broke out soon after lunch

ABOVE: Two lone firefighters in the thick of the smoke battling to preserve the blazing temple.

BELOW: The fire destroys the first-floor of the Gudwara Sikh Sangat, but emergency crews manage to preserve the structure of the temple...

Pictures: Joe Lord Report: Gemma Collins

SHOCKED worshippers have been arriving from all over London to witness the blaze that swept through a major Sikh temple in the East End.

Many were close to tears this-afternoon, watching the flames sweep through the upper floor of the ornately decorated Gudwara Sikh Sangat with its classical pillared entrance.

Ten emergency crews were mobilised from all over East London to the sangat at Harley Grove in Bow where fire broke out soon after lunch on the first floor, after the Fire Brigade received several 999 calls at 2.10pm.

Thermal imaging cameras were used to search the premises for anyone still inside the two-storey house of worship, but the building was clear.

A women’s function was being held on the first floor where the fire broke out, but the group of 10 managed to get to safety in the street as the flames swept through the gallery and through the roof.

HOLY BOOKS DESTROYED

“It is s difficult to watch because we know what is in the temple,” said one worshipper arriving in Harley Grove after spotting a pall of smoke several streets away.

“We know what’s inside the temple. All the holy books are being destroyed.

“It is like one of my gods are burning down—we worship our holy books as steps to God.”

Police have closed off the turning off the main A11 Bow Road while fire crews tackle the blaze.

PLUME OF SMOKE

One eye-witness contacted by the East London Advertiser, Peter Footman, guv’nor of the Coburn Arms pub close by, said: “I can see out the window one big white plume coming over the houses.”

Another publican, Sarah Jesson, assistant manager at the Morgan Arms, said: “There’s lots of smoke and huge flames coming out the top of the roof.”

+++

More pictures from East London Advertiser reader Wenton Moore.

Please email the East London Advertiser or call the Newsdesk on 020-7791 7799 if you were at the scene or took any pictures.

+++


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the East London Advertiser. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the East London Advertiser