A Buddhist temple in south-east Melbourne ravaged by fire | melbourne

A fire has engulfed the Bright Moon Buddhist Society temple in Melbourne’s southeast.

Sunday night’s fire in Springvale was visible for miles and drew a crowd as orange flames engulfed the roof of the temple and a column of smoke billowed from it.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Paul Foster called it a “rather spectacular” large fire – the temple was about 150m by 100m and was five stories high.

“It drew hundreds and hundreds of spectators as well as a large contingent of firefighters,” Foster said.

Fire Rescue Victoria said crews were called to the place of worship around 8 p.m. and arrived within minutes. Around 100 firefighters brought the blaze under control around 10:30 p.m.

Foster said by the time they arrived the fire was well established.

About 30 nearby residents had to be evacuated, and others were told to stay indoors, close doors and windows, and turn off heating and cooling systems.

No members of the public or firefighters were injured.

On Monday morning, fire investigators were on the scene trying to investigate the cause, but Foster said it was still too early to determine how it started.

Fire Rescue Victoria had been aware of the cultural sensitivities of the community losing their place of worship, he said.

“A fire is a fire when it needs to be put out, but there are obviously cultural sensitivities that we need to be aware of.”

“Not only is it a place of worship for the Buddhist community, it’s a meeting place for local residents and it took many years to build and as such, you know, local residents feel the loss deep enough.”

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The Bright Moon Buddhist Society originally used a garage in Springvale as a prayer hall for chanting when it formed in 1980. When numbers grew, a hall at a local Masonic center was rented as a place to temporary shrine before the old Springvale South Sports Complex. was bought.

The gym has been converted into a Dharma Hall with minor renovations.

Foster said that as incident controller, he worked with the local temple committee and their chairman throughout the evening and would continue to do so on Monday to understand their concerns.

Representatives told authorities that the remains of former congregation members were stored in the temple, but due to concerns about the structural integrity of the building, authorities cannot let anyone in until they are deemed safe.

“It is a concern for us. We want to make sure that we care for and respect the people who [left] behind in there.

Authorities hope the remains are intact, Foster said, because they were in a part of the building that was protected.

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