Sydney temple fire may have been arson: police
Neighbours have been left shocked and mystified about the cause of a fire that destroyed part of a Buddhist temple in Sydney’s west overnight.
Police suspect arson may be behind the blaze, which was well alight when emergency crews arrived at the temple at Jamisontown, near Penrith, about 2.30am on Sunday.
Fire crews managed to contain the blaze to half the premises. The remaining structure sustained significant smoke damage.
On Sunday afternoon, the damage appeared concentrated in a prayer room adjoining the kitchen of the still-smouldering property, which had been used as a Korean Buddhist temple for about two years.
The room's roof had collapsed and a Buddha statue sat among the debris. A charred collection of prayer books were near its burnt-out doorway.
A nearby resident, Antonia Iaria, said she "wouldn't have a clue" what had caused the fire.
"It shocked us all this morning," she said.
"I've been living here 22 years and we never had trouble with nobody."
She said a neighbour's dogs had sounded the alarm at about 2.30am, and "the next minute I saw big fire".
Despite her neighbour's initial fears that someone may have been trapped inside the house, she said it had stood empty for about three months.
She said that its residents, originally from Korea, had travelled back there for a holiday.
"We never heard a word from them, they were beautiful people," she said.
"They've had a (no trespassing) sign on the gate, they had a (CCTV) camera there too since they've been on holidays."
Detectives are treating the fire as suspicious and anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
- with AAP