Fire breaks out at Buddhist temple

CREATED Jul 4, 2014 - UPDATED: Jul 4, 2014

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MILWAUKEE - For members of the Lao Buddhist temple, the sight of the damage left behind from a fire is overwhelming.

"Its tough right now," said temple member Sam Rajaphoumi.

At every turn are signs of just how quick the flames and smoke spread. A burned out bedroom belongs to one of the three monks who escaped the fire.

"He felt the hot heat, that is what woke him up."

A fourth person had to be rescued by firefighters. While the flames stopped short of the temple's sanctuary, the smoke stained the walls, as well as sacred paints and photos documenting the temple's 27 years on National Avenue.

"People enjoy coming here in the community, because this is one of the big temples in Milwaukee."

News of the devastation quickly spread.

"A lot of the people that come here are the elderly too, they at a loss, they don't know what is going on; they are wondering how are we going to fix it?"

Its unclear how long it will take to get the building back up and running, but members say they will worship here again.