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Chaldean Loses Millions in Store Fire
By Rita Abro :: Tuesday, March 11, 2008 :: 55016 Views :: Law & Order, Business & Finance

California, USA – “Everything I have worked so hard for over the past four years, I have lost in one night,” said owner Andy Kakoz.

A crowd of about 50 people gathered across the street to watch firefighters douse the flames of a million dollar discount store in Downtown El Cajon, California. At one point, water from three ladder trucks was being poured on the roof while firefighters on the ground busted windows to pour water on the flames. Firefighters from four agencies fought to bring the fire under control. Even two hours after it started, some flames were still coming of the roof.

The three-alarm fire consumed the entire store and sent firefighters to the hospital.  The blaze at Allen's Discount Store started shortly after 9 p.m., says Kakoz.  “all was normal when I closed the store at 9 p.m.”  Shortly afterward, Kakoz received a call from his alarm company that something was moving inside the store. As he was heading back to the shop, he got another call confirming the fire.

At one point, flames shot out of the roof and thick gray smoke poured out the doors of the store on Main Street, near Lincoln Avenue. Main Street was closed from Roanoke Avenue to Mollison Avenue as firefighters battled the blaze.

Mike Scott, El Cajon fire chief. expected firefighters would remain at the store all night. “There's a lot of merchandise in there,” Scott said. “It's going to take a while to put out all of the hot spots.”

St. Joseph, MI USA

St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church
2442 E. Big Beaver Rd.
Troy, MI 48083
Tel: (248) 528-3676
Fax: (248) 524-1957

Congregation Organizer:
Rev. Michael J. Bazzi

Church Constructing Pastor:
Rev. Sarhad Y. Jammo

Current Pastor:
Msgr. Zouhair Toma

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Ayad Hanna

 Current Pastor: Msgr. Zouhair Toma

Msgr. Zouhair Toma (Kejbou) was born in Telkaif, Iraq in 1947.  He was ordained a priest in Baghdad, Iraq in 1968, and accepted his first assignment to serve the community of Baquba.  The Monsignor’s leadership skills and organizational talents along with his mastery of theology were immediately evident.  He later assisted Sts. Peter and Paul in Al-Salehia, and St. George in New Baghdad.

In August, 1978 Monsignor Toma was called to serve the growing community of persecuted Chaldeans finding refuge in Australia.   Being the fist Chaldean priest to arrive in Australia he quickly established a parish for the Chaldeans in Sydney to serve their social and spiritual needs.  The parish was named after St. Thomas the Apostle and built a rectory. 

In 1989, for his incredible work he was granted the title of Monsignor, Chaldean Patriarchal Vicar for Australia and New Zealand.  Continuing his passionate work to serve the Chaldean community the Monsignor moved the Parish Center to a more accessible location and built a large church campus featuring a modern community center, residence quarters, and administrative offices in 1995. 

In 2003, Monsignor Toma added a magnificent church to replace the previous one in order to serve the fast growing community and also opened two other centers.  The first was Our Lady Guardian of Plants in Melbourne, and the second was Mar Addai the Apostle in Auckland, New Zealand.  Mar Addai in New Zealand included two very large churches along with rectories and community centers.  Overseeing the Patriarchal Vicariate for 28 years, he managed to inspire six more priests to help minister to the fast growing Chaldean community. 

In August 2006, Monsignor chose to assist the St. Thomas the Apostle Diocese in the U.S. as more Catholic churches were being built in America and address the growing need.  On October 2006, Monsignor was incardinated and appointed Pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Troy.