IC Calls Meeting to Enhance Fire Management in Temples

Representatives from over 30 different temples attended the meeting.

A-Ma Temple was damaged by fire on 10th February. The damage to the major structure of the Prayer Hall - including the main beam, wall and roof - was not extensive and posed no immediate danger. The wooden furnishings, however, were severely damaged, as was the altar, incense burner trestle table and plaques. The statue of the Goddess A-Ma, the item of most historic value in the Prayer Hall, remains in a 'state of integrity' and can be restored. The Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC) estimates that the structural restoration works on the Prayer Hall can be completed within two to three months although it will take at least a year before the Hall can be returned to its former state.

The president of IC, Ung Vai Meng, has met with the A-Ma Temple Charity Association, which was required to comply with the fire safety measures of the temple and rectify environmental issues. IC will fully support the restoration plan and provide essential professional advice, assisting the Association to work on inventory items, records, transfer and arrangement of proper storage.

A meeting on temples fire safety was convened by IC after the fire. IC invited all temples management associations to join the meeting in order to enhance temple managers' awareness of fire safety in temples. Over 40 managers from 30 different temples joined the meeting. During the meeting, Ung requested all associations follow the 'Temple Fire Prevention Guidelines' published by IC, which includes burning fewer joss sticks and candles and turning off all the electricity in temples in the evening. Meanwhile, temples should not allow burning joss sticks and flame cooking inside the temples, which should also arrange for its managers to look after their temples during opening hours in order to minimise the risk of fire.