Two firefighters have died fighting a fire in an industrial building in Ngau Tau Kok, which started around 11am on Tuesday.
Senior station officer Thomas Cheung Yiu-sing, 30, and senior fireman Samuel Hui Chi-kit, 37, were both found unconscious by colleagues and rushed to hospital, where both were pronounced dead. Cheung is survived by his wife and their four-month-old son, and Hui by his wife and their seven-year-old son. A further 11 firefighters have been taken to hospital since the fire broke out.
Concerns are now being raised about the structure of the building as the fire enters its fourth day. The government has prepared plans to evacuate local residents if necessary.
The fire is the longest running in Hong Kong for over 20 years. The Standard reported that the blaze was proving difficult to put out due to the large fire area and narrow corridors. They quoted acting deputy chief fire officer Poon Wai-lun who said, “We encountered some difficulties due to the large area on the entire third floor with 200 mini-storage units. All the units were locked by the occupants.”
The incident has highlighted the lack of regulation of mini-storage units in Hong Kong and lead to calls for the tightening of fire safety rules. The Fire Service Department has now set up an investigation to determine the cause of the fire as well as the death of the two firemen.