Wed, Feb 09, 2011 - Page 5 News List

Fires damage PRC cultural sites with fireworks blamed

AFP, BEIJING

Fires engulfed a 1,000 year-old temple and a historic ancient village in China as Lunar New Year fireworks sparked thousands of blazes across the country, state press said yesterday.

Parts of the ancient Fahai Temple, built in 945 in Fujian Province, were destroyed by a fire that started early on Monday morning, the China News Service reported.

Nearly 150 fire fighters fought the blaze, the report said. No fatalities or casualties were reported, while a building containing most of the temple’s ancient Buddhist texts was unharmed.

Firemen were investigating the cause of the blaze, while locals speculated that it was caused by fireworks, Xinhua news agency reported.

Nearly 6,000 fires broke out in China in the first 32 hours of the Lunar New Year that began on Thursday, with most caused by fireworks, the China Daily said on Monday, citing the public security ministry.

Also early on Monday a fire engulfed Ciqikou ancient village in Chongqing municipality, the Chongqing Daily said.

The blaze destroyed souvenir and snack shops in the village, an ancient pottery manufacturing center and tourist attraction, the report said.

The cause of the fire was under investigation, reports said.

Also on Thursday fireworks touched off a blaze that engulfed a high-rise hotel in Shenyang city, the provincial capital of Liaoning Province, state media said

No one was injured in the blaze, which broke out shortly after midnight at the three-building Dynasty Wanxin complex, which included a five-star hotel, Xinhua said.

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