Buddhist monastery destroyed by fire in Italy

DPA, Dec 26, 2008

Rome, Italy -- A fire almost entirely destroyed a Buddhist monastery in the Tuscan town of Pomaia near Pisa, Italian media reported Friday. Initial reports said the cause of the blaze was a short-circuit in the monastery's meditation hall.

The flames engulfed the roof of the building and destroyed valuable incunabula, or early printed books, statues and ancient Tibetan writings, the reports said.

The reports estimated damage at 1 million euros (1.4 million dollars).

The 25 monks in the monastery denied that a candle could have caused the blaze as candles had been banned from the meditation hall on safety grounds.