London: Worshippers had a miraculous escape as a lightning strike destroyed the roof of a gurdwara in the British city of Leicester only 30 minutes after the building had been full of people.
A large group of people had gathered at the Ramgarhia Sikh Temple on Meynell Road to celebrate the wedding of a committee member`s daughter on Saturday and luckily the strike occurred just after everyone had left.
"We left the gurdwara at about half-past two. We had a full congregation of 200-250 people in the morning... Had the incident taken place half an hour earlier, it would have been a major disaster," said Inderjit Singh Panesar, the president of the board at the gurdwara.
"I am still in shock and devastated for the community... I daren`t imagine what might have been...It is a miracle no-one was seriously hurt or killed," he added.
A group of elderly women were singing hymns in the temple when the lightning struck. They were showered with debris and roof tiles in the prayer hall, where a section of the gable end of the building was destroyed.
No series injuries have been reported, but one of the women was taken to hospital as a precaution.
Kulwant Kaur Kalsi, 80, the oldest serving member of the temple community, was among those hit by debris.
"It was amazing 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," Kalsi told `Leicester Merucury` newspaper.
The temple`s holy scriptures were salvaged by the group of women and escaped damage in the roof fall.
Structural engineers from the city council are due to visit to assess the building.
Pieces of timber and roof tiles have been scattered over an area up to 40 yards away.
A car, which was empty, had its back windscreen smashed by a piece of the falling roof.