January 27, 2014 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Leicester, United Kingdom (January 27, 2014): According to Leicester Mercury [w]orshippers had a miracle escape after a lightning strike blew a massive hole in a Gurdwara building roof on January 25. As per information the lightening hit at the Ramgarhia Sikh Gurdwara in Meynell Road, off Uppingham Road, Leicester, at about 3pm.
As per information no one was hurt seriously in this incident and the Saroop of Guru Granth Sahib remained intact.
A whole section of the gable end of the building was destroyed, while timbers from the roof were thrown up to 40 yards away, Leicester Mercury has reported.
Kulwant Kaur Kalsi, 80, who is the oldest serving member of the Gurdwara, was hit by falling debris in the Diwan hall.
The 80-year-old said: “It was amazing that no-one was seriously hurt”.
“One minute we were sitting there singing, then we heard the thunder and saw the lightning and the roof fell in. I was only hit by tiles but a woman was hit by some wood. She had cuts and bruises”, she added.
78-year-old Kundan Kaur, of Oadby, was taken to hospital after suffering injuries to her head and fingers in the incident. She has since been discharged.
Gurdwara president Indy Panesar said there were 250 people in the prayer room just half an hour before the lightning struck.
He said: “Most of the people had dispersed by about 2.30pm and there were only about 50 people left in the Gurdwara building.
“There were about 20 people in the main Diwan hall, with some of them being the old women performing Gurbani Kirtan. It is a miracle no-one was seriously hurt or killed.”
“The scriptures were in the main prayer hall and could have taken a direct hit, but did not,” he said. “One of the owners respectfully collected them and we put them in a safe place. That was another amazing piece of good fortune.”
Worshipper Mangal Singh Loyal was inside the Gurdwara Sahib when the lightning struck.
The 67-year-old said: “We heard one thunder clap then lightning struck.
“I heard a terrible noise then looked towards the main prayer hall. Then I saw women coming out screaming and shouting.
“They were covered in debris. I looked inside and there was smoke and rubble everywhere.
“I looked up where the roof had caved in and you could see the sky outside. The hole in the roof is massive.
“One whole end of the roof has been blown off.”
Mr Panesar said structural engineers from Leicester City Council were due to visit to assess the building.
He said the fire service had cordoned off the main prayer hall and declared it out of bounds.
“We have been allowed to carry on using the building,” he said. “We have a smaller prayer room upstairs which we shall use to carry on providing our service to the community.
“We shall remain open as normal.”
One flying piece of timber embedded itself in the windscreen of a car parked outside the Gurdwara.
Other pieces of timber and roof tiles were scattered over an area up to 40 yards away.
A section of the road, between the junctions with Fernie Road and Woodland Road, was closed off following the incident.
A spokeswoman for Leicestershire police said it had been a busy few hours for emergency services following the freak storm which hit certain parts of the county this afternoon.
“It’s been quite chaotic,” the force spokeswoman said. “There have been quite a few trees that have come down. We’ve been really busy these past few hours.”
Firefighters were also called out to Barker Crescent, in Melton, where properties have been damaged by the storm.
They said tiles had come loose from several roofs in the street.
The storm also affected customers at Aldi, in Wigston, where power to the tills was cut during the strike.
One shopper said: “I nipped in just before 3pm. I was just about to bag up the shopping, I was next in the queue, and there was a flash of lightning outside.
“The people in front of me had just put their bank card into pay when all the tills in the shop just stopped working. The managers came out and said they didn’t know when they would be back on.
“I left at about 3.20pm, I got fed up of waiting.
“Everybody doing their weekly shop just had to leave it there on the conveyor belts. It was chaos, no-one knew what was going on. It was a bit annoying but it’s one of those things, no-one’s fault.”
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