Yesterday, Monday, April 26th, at around 6 pm, devotees heard a blast then found smoke in the Albert Road, ISKCON Kolkata Temple. It was seen that the dress room of Sri Sri Radha Govindaji was on fire. Devotees immediately rushed to put out the fire. They started throwing water but the fire was too big. In a short time of 20-25 minutes, local police and fire brigade arrived and they doused the fire in no time. But in the meantime, all the dresses of Sri Sri Radha Govindaji, Sriman Mahaprabhu, and Sri Sri Jagannath Baldev Subhadradevi got burned. During the time when devotees were putting off fire, they were worried about fire entering the Deity room, so immediately Deities were moved to a safe place away from the fire, for security.
We are also engaging some experts from the fire brigade and electricity department to give us the advice to make sure that we organise things in such a way that such things do not happen again. In the beginning, devotees thought that fire took place due to short circuit but there is also possible that it may have happened due to the bursting of the compressor of one of the Air conditioner of the Deity room. The compressor was outside the deity room, near the dress room. The fire must have suddenly grown because of the compressor bursting and the gas of the compressor leaking out. Currently, forensic investigation is going on.
While dousing the fire, devotees, police, and the fire brigade walked into the Deity room with shoes, water also came into the Deity room and the whole thing was filled with smoke as well. Later police came and sealed the dress room to do a forensic investigation to find out the cause of the fire. At present we have now put the Deities in Srila Prabhupada’s room and worship is going on. There was also no electricity for some time. Since the Deity kitchen and all Deity-related areas are a mess, we are not cooking for Deities in the temple. Currently, bhoga is cooked at the ISKCON House, Gurusaday Road, and sent for Deities. Hopefully, within three to four days, everything will be cleaned up and ready for the Deities to be brought back to the altar and cooking resumed in the temple.
More information to come about the cause of the fire and how you can donate.
Jan 22, 2023
Bhaktivedanta Institute for Higher Studies