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Fire in Shangri-la's Tibetan town caused by heater: report

Press Trust of India  |  Beijing 

The devastating fire that destroyed an ancient Tibetan town in Shangri-la resort county in southwest China was caused by a heater, officials said today.

The blaze broke out in Ruyi Inn in Dukezong Ancient Town after its owner Tang Ying forgot to turn off the heater, causing it to set fire to a curtain, read a statement from the fire-fighting and disaster-relief headquarters.

Tang is being investigated for negligently causing the fire, state-run Xinhua agency reported.

A report earlier this week stated that a "careless use of electricity" by Tang led to the electrical fault.

Shangri-la resort, famous for its ancient wooden structures and cultural relics, was destroyed in the fire on January 11, and also forced the evacuation of 2,600 people.

Wooden houses at Dukezong - meaning "town of the moon" in Tibetan - and built 1,300 years ago on the South Silk Road were burnt down in the fire causing widespread anguish.

While more than 240 houses were damaged, another 43 had to be dismantled. The blaze lasted about ten hours.

Apart from the houses, shops and infrastructure facilities, the fire damaged cultural relics, Tibetan thangka and other Tibetan art.

Dukezong is one of the most renowned resorts in Shangri-la, known for its well-preserved ancient Tibetan dwellings.

First Published: Fri, January 17 2014. 20:33 IST