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Published: Sunday January 26, 2014 MYT 6:32:00 PM
Updated: Sunday January 26, 2014 MYT 6:34:09 PM

Fire destroys 100 homes in centuries-old China village

This file photo shows damaged houses in an ancient Tibetan town of Gyalthang, in Shangri-La, southwest China's Yunnan province after a fire flattened two thirds of the town's old centre, on January 12, 2014

This file photo shows damaged houses in an ancient Tibetan town of Gyalthang, in Shangri-La, southwest China's Yunnan province after a fire flattened two thirds of the town's old centre, on January 12, 2014

Beijing (AFP) - A fire has destroyed more than 100 homes in a Chinese village built three centuries ago, state media said on Sunday, the third blaze to ravage a cultural site in weeks.

The blazes, which all erupted in the southwest of the country, often burned down old wooden structures.

The latest fire broke out at Baojing Dong village in Guizhou province late Saturday and took more than four hours to put out, the state news agency Xinhua said.

The area was "one of China's most complete" settlements of the Dong ethnic minority, known for its "well-preserved" dwellings, it added.

Nearly 2,000 residents lived there but no casualties have yet been reported. The cause of the blaze remains under investigation, it said.

More than 200 similar settlements are located in the same prefecture of Qiandongnan and many have suffered from fires, local housing official Gu Huaxian was quoted by Xinhua as saying last month.

A separate blaze on January 10 destroyed more than 100 wooden homes in an ancient Tibetan town in the popular tourist area of Shangri-La in Yunnan province.

The fire at Gyalthang -- in an area said to have inspired British author James Hilton's mythical Shangri-La -- also took place overnight, with no casualties reported.

A week earlier 10 structures burned down in the Buddhist Serthar institute, a high-profile site for Tibetan culture in Sichuan province.

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