Central government’s office and HK Chief Executive send condolences over HK’s deadliest fire in years

By Cui Fandi Source: Global Times Published: 2020/11/16 13:10:58

Fire fighters and police officers investigate a fire scene in Hong Kong, south China, Nov. 15, 2020. Seven people were killed and more than 10 others were injured after a fire broke out at a tenement building in Hong Kong on Sunday night, the police said. The fire, which occurred around 8 p.m. local time at the building along the Canton Road, Jordan, was extinguished about two hours later. (Photo: Xinhua)

Hong Kong saw its worst fire in recent years on Sunday, which has killed seven and left more than 10 others injured. The Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in Hong Kong (LOCPG) and the region's Chief Executive have sent condolences to the injured, with the liaison office vowing future assistance if needed. 

The fire broke out at a tenement building in Yau Ma Tai at around 8 pm on Sunday. It was extinguished about two hours later, Xinhua News reported. 

LOCPG expressed its concern over the incident, and sent its deepest condolences to the victims and sincere sympathies to the families of the victims and the injured. The Liaison Office vowed to provide assistance if the Special Administrative Region (SAR) government has any needs, according to a statement published on Monday.

In a statement published in the early morning on Monday, Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, said she was deeply saddened by the deaths and injuries caused by the fire. 

Lam arrived at the scene at about 8:30 am on Monday and was briefed by firefighters about the incident. She stayed at the building for about 10 minutes before leaving, local media outlet RTHK reported.

Lam has instructed the relevant departments to do their utmost to save and care for the injured, and for the cause of the fire to be investigated.

It is believed that candles lit for a family celebration may have ignited soundproofing materials, local media outlet South China Morning Post reported. Police are investigating whether the flat was being used as an unlicensed Nepali restaurant. The building had no fire extinguishing system, fire officers said. 

Regarding the incident, some residents have expressed concerns to the Global Times over long-existing housing safety risks in Hong Kong. 

"Many of the rooms in the tenement buildings are partitioned only by wooden planks, and it's nearly impossible to get out of the building in an emergency," said a Hong Kong citizen who preferred not to be named, "We always knew there was a risk of serious accidents, but there is nothing we citizens can do about it."

"Both the Hong Kong police and fire service responded quickly, arriving at the scene of the fire within five minutes," a student surnamed Hu who lives near the scene told the Global Times, "Still they were unable to stop the fire from spreading. In such tenement buildings, fire hazards have long been a worrisome issue."


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