Probe into Sikh temple fire continues

By Paul Suarez, Columbian freelance

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Investigators with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are still looking into what caused a Sikh temple to burn to the ground Oct. 12.

A fire sparked in the early morning hours at the Guru Ramdass Sikh Community building, the 17,000-square-foot former Landover Athletic Club in east Vancouver's Landover-Sharmel neighborhood.

The building was engulfed in flames by the time firefighters arrived and determined to be a total loss, Vancouver Fire Department Capt. Kevin Murray said at the time.

No one was reported injured in the blaze.

The ATF and FBI responded with the city fire marshal. Murray said it is standard procedure for federal investigators to respond to the scene of any fire at a place of worship.

Vancouver Police Department spokeswoman Kim Kapp said on Monday the investigation is still active.

Special Agent Cheryl Bishop, a spokeswoman for ATF, said there's no way to tell when reports would be finalized but said they would be sent to local agencies before they're released.

The Guru Ramdass Sikh Community, the largest Sikh group in the Portland metro area with about 200 member families, bought the building in 2008. The group had nearly completed renovations and planned to move from its small Rose Village gurdwara on O Street to the new building in December, member Gurjit Singh said.