Cambodian Wat Fully Recovered from 2010 Fire

Written by: Steve Wilhelm

Abbot Sovet Moun, in the temple’s small shrine room

Abbot Sovet Moun, in the temple’s small shrine room.

Three years after being severely damaged by fire, Wat Dhammacakkaram on Seattle’s Beacon Hill is fully functioning again.

The wat, which is primarily supported by the Cambodian community, sits on three-quarters of an acre on a wooded hill down a secluded side street, seemingly far away from the rush of Seattle traffic.

The February 2010, fire was started by a malfunctioning furnace, and so damaged the interior of the temple’s main building that it could not be fully used until October of 2012.

But now that repairs have been made the temple is resuming full activities, and on April 14 celebrated the Cambodian New Year for the first time since the fire. The temple officially re-opened in October

“Now that all is fixed, more monks can come,” said Sovet Moun, acting abbot and the sole monk now at the temple.

The temple has 300 to 500 members, Moun said.

The main temple includes a large shrine room, a large kitchen, and space for more resident monks.

The grounds include several other structures common to Cambodian temples, including a structure where the burial ashes of temple members are kept and honored.

Wat Dhammacakkaram was founded in 1982, said Larry Seng, temple president.

About the Author: Steve Wilhelm
Photos by: Steve Wilhelm