GEORGE TOWN: A minor fire has broken out at the Kek Lok Si Temple, next to the enormous 30.2m-tall bronze statue of the Goddess of Mercy (Kuan Yin) in Ayer Itam, here.
Fortunately, only a table used for prayer items was razed as firemen arrived on scene in the nick of time to put out the flames.
White smoke was seen billowing from the area at about midnight on Friday (Feb 4).
Paya Terubong Fire and Rescue Department operations officer Shahril Anuar Mawarday said the fire was minor and involved a small offering table used for prayers in front of the statue here.
"No victims or structural damage were involved and the fire was successfully put out.
"The fire was brought under control at 12.56am and was completely put out at 1.07am.
"The operation ended at 1.30am.
On Oct 12 last year, a prayer room in the 130-year-old temple was damaged following a fire.
The fire gutted the annex of the structures but a 121-year-old Sanskrit bell in the room was unscathed.
The fire was believed to have started from a lit oil lamp.
Located in Ayer Itam, Kek Lok Si — which means Temple of Supreme Bliss — was said to be the largest Buddhist temple in South-East Asia, and arguably the most famous in Penang.
The hills in the area have traditionally been regarded as having all the right feng shui for a temple.
The temple’s construction began in 1893 and was inspired by the chief monk of the Goddess of Mercy Temple in Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling back then.
The Manchu Emperor Guangxu approved of the project, bestowing a tablet and gifting 70,000 volumes of the Imperial Edition of Buddhist Sutras.