Arson probe after man plucked to safety from 36th-floor canopy

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 February, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 February, 2007, 12:00am

Police have launched an arson investigation after a fire broke out at a residential building in Tseung Kwan O yesterday afternoon, forcing a resident to climb out of his 36th-floor window and on to a small canopy to await rescue.

Fifty residents were evacuated from the building.

The 36-year-old man climbed from his bedroom window at Beverly Garden after his flat caught fire around 2.30pm. He stood on a canopy of less than a square metre as thick smoke poured out.

Firemen climbed down from a flat two-storeys above by rope to help the stranded resident.

'A fireman secured him outside and other firefighters broke the window frame within a short time to bring him back to the flat,' said Tang Kai-ming, senior officer at Po Lam fire station.

The blaze was put out 30 minutes after firefighters arrived.

A 33-year-old man and a 19-year-old woman were asleep in another bedroom at the flat when the fire broke out. The three were sent to Tseung Kwan O Hospital, where the woman was listed in stable condition. The men were discharged.

Firefighters described the case as suspicious.

'The bedroom where the fire broke out was locked on the inside and there were something blocking the door,' Mr Tang said, adding that more than 10 cigarette lighters had been found scattered about the flat.

A police spokesman said: 'The flat owner said he was asleep when the fire broke out and did not know why his bedroom caught fire.'

A police source said the three may had been inhaling gas from the cigarette lighters before the fire.