Building hit by fourth blaze in year

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 June, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 June, 2006, 12:00am

Firefighters evacuated 28 residents from a blazing building in North Point following a suspected arson attack early yesterday morning - the fourth incident on the same floor within the past year.

A 37-year-old woman who suffered smoke inhalation was sent to Ruttonjee Hospital and later discharged.

Two units on the second floor of Kings' Centre building in King's Road where the fire broke out were suspected to have been used as unlicensed guesthouses.

Firefighters were called to the 27-storey building at 3.50am after the blaze started outside the front door of one of the guesthouses. Six fire engines and an ambulance were sent to the scene.

Several tenants were trapped on the second floor and a hydraulic platform and a ladder were used to rescue them. Two teams of rescuers with breathing equipment also evacuated more than 20 residents from the upper floors.

Firemen extinguished the fire within half an hour.

They suspected arson because no natural cause of ignition was found, according to a spokesman for the Fire Services Department.

'Three similar reports of fire were reported on the same floor of the building' in the past 12 months, the spokesman said.

He said a case of arson was being investigated by Eastern District crime squad detectives. No arrests have been made.

A spokeswoman for the Home Affairs Department said they received a referral from the Fire Services Department and staff from the Office of the Licensing Authority were following up the case.