Fire damages old Buddhist temple at SKorea's Mt Naejang
Seoul: A fire destroyed the main building of one of South Korea's oldest temples Wednesday in the southwestern province of North Jeolla, but there were no casualties, media reports said.
The report said the fire at Naejangsa Temple, known for its autumn foliage, started at around 2 am and destroyed the temple's main building, Daewungjeon, and part of the forest behind it. Other temple buildings were not affected, it said.
About 10 monks were residing in the temple compound but there were no casualties as the monks slept in a separate building.
Firefighters were quoted by Yonhap News Agency as saying CCTV footage shows the fire began near an electric heater in the Daewungjeon building. Police have ruled out arson as the cause, it said.
The report said no cultural assets in the temple were confirmed to be destroyed in the fire. One of the temple's most prized treasures is the Ijo-dongjong Bell, considered a major cultural asset.
The temple complex, which is surrounded on all sides by mountains, is located a short distance outside the city Jeonju in the midst of the Mt Naejangsan National Park.
First built on a much larger scale in the seventh century, Naejangsa was destroyed during a Japanese invasion in 1597 and again during the Korean War of 1950-1953. (Kyodo)