THE Hock Teck Cheng Sin Temple committee will appoint architectural consultants to study the structural integrity of the building before deciding its next course of action after the fire on Wednesday.
Temple chairman Datuk Chong Huat Hoo said cracks were found on the walls while wooden pillars and beams in the main prayer hall were charred in the fire.
“Not only most of the religious relics in the temple were burnt in the fire, the over century-old wood pillars and beams were also damaged.
“We will form a committee comprising our members and engage consultant experts in heritage building restoration to conduct a study to determine the extent of the damage.
“Our wish is to restore the temple to its original state, but items destroyed may have to be replicated,” he said.
Chong added that the temple had previously engaged an architect to map and document the temple, and the documentations should assist in the restoration.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, who visited the temple said the George Town World Heritage Incorporated (GTWHI) had inspected the building and classified the damage to be serious.
“As GTWHI is not expert in determining the structural strength of the temple, an expert committee will have to be appointed to study the matter.
“Restoration of the temple will be done and I hope necessary applications will be made to the Seberang Prai Municipal Council for approval so that repair works can be carried out immediately,” he said.
On Wednesday, a fire broke out at the temple, leaving only charred wooden pillars and beams on the roof.
Three statues of deities, including the principal deity Xuan Wu, were also destroyed together with Tua Pek Kong and Tam Kung.
The temple is a landmark in this town as it was founded over 130 years ago by the early Chinese settlers.