Source: Queens Chronicle
On April 24, 2003 the Queens Chronicle reported that "on March 8, 2002, a fire ravaged the city's (Richmond Hill, NY) largest and oldest Sikh temple, resulting in the death of a man visiting from India who was sleeping on the second floor... The brick building... was originally a Methodist church. The Sikh community purchased the property in the late 1960s... For the last year, the community has been holding services in a two-story house... as they planned for the reconstruction of their temple... Even before the fire, the growing Sikh community in Richmond Hill had plans for expanding their house of worship. In 2001, they bought nearby houses at 97th Avenue and 117th Street with plans to demolish them and expand the temple... Although the fire was a significant setback, they are now starting to move forward with a larger temple... The demolition of the ruined building is 60 percent completed, and the community plans to submit a new design to the Buildings Department in two weeks."