Dozens have lucky escape in Tsim Sha Tsui building blaze

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 July, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 July, 2006, 12:00am

About 100 residents were forced to flee their homes yesterday morning when a blaze broke out at a 40-year-old building in Tsim Sha Tsui.

The fire started in an empty flat on the fourth floor of the Comfort Building in Nathan Road shortly after 8.10am and was upgraded to a No3 alarm 20 minutes later.

Fire Services Department Kowloon South divisional officer Yau Wai-keung said officers' efforts to put out the fire were made difficult by the flat's cluttered state.

'The flat in question was about six metres by 20 metres and was divided into a front and rear section,' he said.

'As the flat was relatively small and was crowded with sundries, we had to remove them first in order to fight the fire.

'This was the main difficulty we encountered.'

Four teams trained three hoses on the blaze to bring it under control. Mr Yau said about 100 firefighters and 23 fire engines were involved.

Twenty-three people were evacuated by firefighters, while dozens more fled the 14-storey residential and commercial building.

'The smoke was thick and dark and made me feel salty in my throat as it was spreading around. I immediately got dressed and left,' one man said.

Another resident said she initially was not too concerned, but began to 'shake like hell' when smoke started to pour into her kitchen. She fled after her son told her to get out of the flat.

The fire was put out at 10.37am.

A woman, 26, and a fireman, 27, were rushed to Queen Elizabeth Hospital for treatment after inhaling smoke. The woman has since been discharged.

At least four others were treated on the site for smoke inhalation.

Part of Nathan Road between Cameron Road and Austin Road was closed during the blaze.

Firefighters later said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the fire.