The 150-year old Shing Wong Temple in Yau Ma Tei was damaged in a fire that started in the early hours of Wednesday, the second temple fire in four days. No injuries were reported.

The blaze began at around 1am on Wednesday and was put out approximately 50 minutes later, although firemen were still seen hosing the place down hours later. It was suspected that the fire had been caused by burning of joss papers, reported Oriental Daily.

The Fire Service Department explained that since the structure was made of wood and the surrounding temperature was still high, it was necessary to cool it down to prevent re-ignition.

Firemen pictured at Shing Wong Temple.

The Buildings Department found that part of the wooden crossbeams and the pillars have been damaged. It closed off the area for the day to ensure the safety of the public.

Parts of the structure damaged in the fire.

A representative from the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals, which manages the temple, said that the Shing Wong Temple will temporarily be closed for repair works. Neighbouring temples will open after closure order has been lifted.

Tin Hau Temple in Yau Ma Tei. Photo: Wikipedia Commons.

The temple is one of the three belonging to the Tin Hau Temple Complex in Yung Shue Tau, Yau Ma Tei, the same complex Temple Street was named after. It was built in 1878 and listed as a Grade I historic building by the Antiquities Advisory Board in 2010.

On Saturday, a fire caused by a short circuit broke out at Tam Kung Temple in Shau Kei Wan at around midnight.

The Hungry Ghost Festival, also known as Yu Lan festival, is a traditional holiday observed during the seventh month of the lunar calendar, which usually falls in August. During the festival, believers burn incense and joss paper in order to appease spirits.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.