Kitchen blast injures 2, sends dozens fleeing
A blaze triggered by a suspected gas explosion in a tiny room seriously burned a couple and drove dozens of residents from a building into the street in Shek Kip Mei last night.
The blaze broke out just before 6.30pm when the man was cooking on an LPG stove in the couple's room in a partitioned flat on the second floor of a five-floor building in Tai Po Road. It spread quickly.
The man suffered burns to 40 per cent of his body, while his wife had burns to 50 per cent of her body, including her face.
The stove exploded twice, with blasts strong enough to break open a door and distort a metal gate at the flat's entrance.
The two explosions are thought to have been triggered by an electrical spark that ignited gas accumulated in the room.
The woman was rushed to Caritas Medical Centre and later transferred to Queen Mary Hospital for further treatment.
'I stepped out after hearing two bangs,' said a Mr Lo, who lives in a flat on the same floor. 'There was a huge flame. We cried for help.'
But he said police could not manage to open the distorted gate.
Mr Lo said the couple had thrown keys to the flat through a window onto the ground outside. '[The couple] cried for help. But it was not possible for us to help them,' he said.
Two fire department teams with breathing apparatus teams rushed to the scene. They broke into the flat and rescued the couple.
The firefighters also rescued a couple surnamed Leung, 29, and Wong, 26, who were stranded in an adjacent room with their two dogs.
The couple, who suffered smoke inhalation, were discharged after treatment. The dogs suffered minor burns to their noses and tails.
A 51-year-old man surnamed Lee fell ill in the thick smoke and also needed to be taken to hospital.
Firemen evacuated 24 residents from the building. The fire was put out in about 30 minutes.