39 pupils treated after canteen fire

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 September, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 September, 2005, 12:00am

Thirty-nine primary schoolchildren were treated in hospital after a fire in their school tuck shop caused hundreds of pupils and teachers to be evacuated.

An eight-year-old boy and seven-year-old girl were in a stable condition in Yan Chai Hospital last night. The others were discharged after being treated for breathing difficulties, but the school said this was more a reaction to the shock of the fire than from smoke inhalation.

A pot of oil in the canteen kitchen on the first floor of the eight-storey block at Tung Chung Catholic School in Yat Tung Estate caught fire about 9am.

Kitchen staff fled and most of the pupils had been evacuated by the time firefighters arrived, according to Tung Chung fire station commander So Wai-ping.

Four fire engines and an ambulance were sent to the scene and the fire was put out in minutes. Seven more ambulances and a mobile casualty treatment centre were called in when pupils complained of feeling unwell, Mr So said.

'Most of them were apparently frightened by the incident. Some complained of breathing problems and some turned pale,' he said.

Several pupils were given oxygen and taken in stretchers or wheelchairs to ambulances.

The 39 pupils - 10 boys and 29 girls, aged between five and 11 - were taken to Yan Chai Hospital and Princess Margaret Hospital.