On December 10, a wooden pagoda and prayer hall burnt to the ground at the Lingguan Mansion complex, a Buddhist monastery in China’s Sichuan province.
The local government stated that the fire started around 12:40 p.m. and quickly spread through the 16-story pagoda. Firefighters controlled and extinguished the flames within four hours, but the pagoda and prayer hall were lost. Authorities say there were no reported casualties.
The fire burned over 800 square meters, destroying the complex’s Hall of Arhan and Main Hall. Chinese news outlet People’s Daily Online reported that the fire started in the Main Hall, but high winds quickly pushed the blaze toward the pagoda and Hall of Arhan.
Witnesses posted various videos and photos online that show the pagoda enveloped in flames and smoke, as well as its charred wooden remains.
The Lingguan Mansion pagoda was first built during the Ming Dynasty (1368 to 1644 AD), but was destroyed in 2008 by an 8.0 magnitude earthquake. Restoration began in 2010 and construction was still underway when the fire broke out. The pagoda was known for being the tallest structure of its kind in Asia.
Authorities say the cause of the fire is unknown and an investigation is underway.