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Fire destroys home of Calgary Stampede Wrestling Icon Gama Singh
By KATIE SCHNEIDER - Calgary Sun


Gama Singh Sahota speaks to media outside of his burned home, the one on the right, on Castlebury Court NE in Calgary, Alta. on Tuesday, April 2, 2013. A charging battery pack is being blamed for starting a fire in the eastern house, seen here on the left. Everyone in the two homes made it out safely, although radio reports that one man was taken to hospital. Lyle Aspinall/Calgary Sun

Gama Singh has been left grappling with something he never faced in the Stampede Wrestling ring — the feeling of losing his house to a devastating fire.

But even after the two-alarm blaze consumed his home and his neighbour’s on Castlebury Crt. N.E. about 1 a.m. Tuesday, the wrestling icon is taking comfort in knowing he was able to save memorabilia from those precious days in the famed Calgary wrestling promotion.

Singh, known as the Great Gama during his wresting days, and his wife were awoken by their son about 1:30 a.m., after he saw flashes of light from his bedroom window and noticed the neighbour’s house was on fire.

The family grabbed their robes and slippers and ran outside to make sure their neighbours were safe.

As they waited for the fire trucks to arrive, Singh could only watch helplessly as the flames spread to his house.


“By the time the fire trucks got there, my house caught fire as well,” he said.

“It is not a very good feeling — 20 some years being in the same house, my kids grew up there, it’s not a good feeling.”

The top floor of the house was destroyed and the home sustained significant water damage throughout.

But while checking out the damage inside the home Tuesday, he was fortunate enough to salvage his wrestling memorabilia, including pictures and a photo album.

“It means so much to me because that was my whole life and those would be memories gone forever if I had lost that,” he said.

His family will have to stay in a hotel while his insurance company assesses the damage, and then likely a rental unit temporarily.

Seventeen people were forced from their homes, five from the two houses and seven from adjacent ones who were later allowed to return.

A man and child were cared by EMS.

Fire officials are still trying to determine a cause of the fire, but say it started in a second floor bedroom of the first house.

A battery charger and batteries have been removed from the home as part of the investigation.