Cause of fire at Lizella Hindu temple still unknown | News
Investigators today are trying to find the cause of a fire that gutted a Hindu temple, the former Redding School, in Lizella overnight.
Morgan Fisher, special agent in charge of the local federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms office, says the fire probably started in the attic.
His agency is routinely called to investigate fires at places of worship.
Investigators are mapping the site to locate exactly where it started and how it spread.
The cause is still unknown.
According to Macon-Bibb Fire Dispatch, the building caught fire Wednesday just before 7 p.m.
The building is located at 8062 Eisenhower Parkway.
It was bought three years ago from the county and has served as a Hindu worship center since. It is known as the Lord Prannath Divine Center.
This morning, Raxit Patel told 13WMAZ's Judy Le that his uncle bought the former school building in 2010 and donated part of it to the temple.
He said 200 to 300 people attended their annual festivals.
He said the temple's doors were always unlocked so members could worship at any hour.
Patel said the greatest loss is not the building itself, but a 19,000-word Hindu holy book that was hand-written by members of the congregation.
Temple priest Narendra Patel spoke with 13WMAZ by phone from New Jersey, saying "I am homeless."
He said the loss of the temple is devastating for the congregation, which is about 5,000 people. Patel said believers come from everywhere to worship here.
According to Fire Chief Marvin Riggins, four people were inside when the fire started, but they were in a separate part of the building. Riggins says they didn't know about the fire until someone called and alerted them.