A fire has caused major damage to Govinda’s restaurant at ISKCON of Tucson, Arizona, depriving the community of its income. The temple has also lost power; however no devotees or Deities were harmed.
The fire originated in the neighboring Tire Shop at 7pm on Tuesday July 2nd, and quickly spread to the back of the Govinda’s property. There, it engulfed and completely destroyed the walk-in, food-storage shed, bathrooms, and altar paraphernalia room, where all the temple Deities’ swings, backdrops, and festival decorations were kept.
Within five minutes, the flames spread to the top floor of the building, and incinerated the apartment used by the family who assist in the restaurant kitchen. The blaze also reached the utilities wall, leaving the entire property including the restaurant and temple without electricity, gas, and hot water.
With no air-conditioning, the temperatures, which recently reached 106 degrees, are very austere. Mangala arati is held by candle-light.
The food storage at Govinda’s was completely destroyed by the fire
Devotees also cannot cook; but community members are kindly stepping up to the task and bringing prasadam for residents. It is expected to take about two weeks to return the utility services.
Perhaps most concerning is the fact that the eighteen devotees living on the property are now left without a living, as the restaurant provides income for all residents and projects.
After Kalachandji’s in Dallas, Govinda’s of Tuscon is the longest continually running ISKCON restaurant in the U.S. Govinda’s of Tucson been serving the community non-stop for twenty-eight years.
“What just happened was a huge blow for everyone,” says ISKCON Tucson President Sandamini Dasi. “Everyone was in shock.”
She adds, “We are working with local authorities, inspectors and our insurance to assess the damage and come up with a plan for reimbursement and reconstruction. Reconstruction will take quite some time, possibly months.”
Govinda’s of Tucson, Arizona, before the fire
Nevertheless, devotees at ISKCON Tucson are remaining in good spirits; they are working hard to clean up the aftermath, and went out on Harinama together on July 4th.
“This is devastating for us, but it’s also an opportunity to grow and to make things even better,” says Sandamini. “Also for all of us to do more service, and to come to a higher level of service for the Lord.”
Because claiming insurance can be challenging and take time, ISKCON of Tucson is also reaching out to the worldwide community of devotees for help.
“Thank you so much for the outpour of support from our friends and patrons,” Sandamini concludes. “Your support means so much to us.”
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Please give from the bottom of your heart to help get ISKCON and Govinda’s of Tucson back on their feet.
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