Australia

‘Devastating:’ Temple destroyed in huge blaze

Worshippers are mourning the loss of a Buddhist Temple after it was destroyed in a large blaze.

More than 150 firefighters fought to put out the fire on Sunday night, as flames and heavy smoke filled the suburb of Springvale, in southeast Melbourne.

On Monday morning, Fire Rescue Victoria’s Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Paul Foster said firefighters were still putting out the remaining blazes, with assistance from thermal energy technology.

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As it stands, no cause has been identified. Mr Foster said firefighters and investigators were still not allowed to enter the building as it was “very structurally unsound,” however that could “possibly change”.

“It’s far too early to determine a cause. Specialist fire investigators have just arrived on scene and they will be undertaking some investigations throughout the day,” he told ABC News Breakfast.

Vic Emergency report 17 vehicles were dispatched to the temple at about 8pm, and the blaze was put under control as of 10.37pm.

Nearby residents were told to stay home, and advised to close all their outside doors and window and turn off their airconditioning and heating systems. About 30 people from nearby townhouses were evacuated as a precaution.

A Buddhist temple in Melbourne’s southeast was destroyed by fire. Picture: Reddit.
A Buddhist temple in Melbourne’s southeast was destroyed by fire. Picture: Reddit.

On Reddit, worshippers and temple-goers mourned the loss of the local temple, where their relatives and loved ones had been interred.

“My grandmother’s ashes are there. I’m at a loss for words,” one user wrote.

“Oh god this is terrible, I’m so sorry to everyone who had friends/relatives ashes in there, it was so beautiful too,” shared another.

“I am absolutely devastated as both sets of my grandparents ashes were stored in this temple. It took so many years to build and it still wasn’t finished yet only for it burn to the ground in a few hour,” another wrote.

The Bright Moon Buddhist Temple was bought and built with community funds in 1991 and was still incomplete. According to the Bright Moon Society website, there were plans for a Pagoda Tower to be added in the future.

The temple welcomed people of all faiths to visit and offers visitors a free vegetarian meal every Sunday.

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