A fire broke out in one of the many “family temples” in Yangon’s Chinatown district yesterday, causing significant damage to the temple’s interior.
The fire, situated at the corner of Maha Bandoola Road and Bo Ywe Road in Latha Township, spread from an untended charcoal stove that was cooking a pot of noodles in the temple’s kitchen. The fire grew when it came into contact with leaky gas canisters, according to fire fighters.
A total of 23 fire engines were dispatched to the scene, and the fire was extinguished after 30 minutes. Fire fighters were under pressure to extinguish the fire quickly because fires can spread quickly in the densely populated Chinatown.
The area is home to a large concentration of temples built by individual families of immigrants who came to Yangon from China’s Fujian Province in the early 20th century. Only members of the original founding family can be members of each temple.
The temples, known in Hokkien as kongsi, are used to host family celebrations and funerals and to commemorate Chinese holidays.