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Burning Candle Sparked Fire That Destroyed Buddhist Temple In Garden Grove

GARDEN GROVE (CBSLA) — A candle left burning on the porch of a house that had been converted into a Buddhist temple sparked a fire that destroyed the building.

The fire was first reported at about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Chua Viet Nam temple in the 12200 block of Magnolia Street. Firefighters who were first on the scene saw heavy flames coming from the attic area.

Firefighters battled the blaze amid festive red paper lanterns hung from the house and thrown to the ground. The temple had been celebrating Lunar New Year just hours earlier.

The fire was under control within a half hour and no one was hurt. The charred house was taped off, but bright fruit offerings, plants and flowers somehow were unscathed by the flames.

"The first day of new year, a thing like this happened," neighbor Tony Nguyen said. "It's not a good sign."

The house was converted into a temple six years ago. Damage has been estimated at $450,000.

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