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No injuries after fire tears through temple at Wutai Shan Buddhist Garden near Bethany, Ont.

Click to play video: 'Fire at temple at Wutai Shan Buddhist Garden'
Fire at temple at Wutai Shan Buddhist Garden
Fire broke out Sunday afternoon at a temple under construction at the Wutai Shan Buddhist Garden near Bethany, Ont. No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire is under investigation. Franny Galvin-Hayes who lives near the area captured this video of the fire – Jul 25, 2022

No injuries were reported after a fire tore through one of the temples at the Wutai Shan Buddhist Garden near Bethany, Ont., on Sunday.

Just before 2 p.m., firefighters from the City of Kawartha Lakes and Cavan-Monaghan Township responded to a fire at one of the temples currently under construction.

Franny Galvin-Hynes, who lives nearby, was in her house when she first noticed smoke coming from the temple. According to the Buddhist Association of Canada Cham Shan Temple, the temple is made of specialized wooden interlocking brackets (without nails) imported from China.

“I looked out my window and thought, ‘That doesn’t look right,'” she told Global News Peterborough.

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Fire crews spent several hours battling the blaze. Kawartha Lakes Fire and Rescue Chief Terry Jones said crews from five stations responded to the fire, which is in the jurisdiction of Cavan-Monaghan.

The 214-hectare property is one of four bought by the Buddhist Association of Canada Cham Shan Temple. The $80-million project proposes four Buddhist temples linked by pilgrimage trails to symbolize the four sacred Chinese mountains. When completed, Cham Shan Temple says the project will be the largest single Buddhist complex built outside China.

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The Wutai Shan is the shrine of Manjusri Bodhisattva, the Bodhisattva of Great Wisdom. The site opened in 2018 but was closed to visitors due to the pandemic.

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The cause of the fire remains under investigation. A damage estimate was not available.

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