News reports say that the fire was caused by candles (between 100 and 1000) lit earlier for a religious ceremony.
“The fire spread from the temple at 5212 E. 10th Street reported after 2 a.m. to five cars, three sheds and another home behind the temple, according to Fire Battalion chief Lisa Baker. It took 80 minutes to contain, she said.” – NBC Bay Area
The holiday, known as Māgha Pūjā, commemorates the full moon day 10 months after the Buddha’s awakening. The celebration is celebrated in Burma, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand, and photos from Thailand celebrations can be found at the Guardian here.
Also via NBC:
The Oakland Cambodian Buddhist Society was founded by refugees in 1983, and whose members scraped together $40,000 as a down payment on the building, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
The temple had also been the site of political infighting. In 2010, a judge decided after 10 years of restraining orders and allegations of stealing that the the Oakland Cambodian Buddhist Society had a right to ownership, despite being taken over in 2005 by the Massachusetts-based International Community of Khmer Buddhist Monks Center, the Oakland Tribune reported.