Wheelchair-bound pensioner dies in Sai Kung hut inferno
An 83-year-old wheelchair-bound woman burned to death in a squatter hut in Sai Kung yesterday after her nephew went out and left a pot of water boiling on a fire.
So Yi-mui was buried under the debris of the 300 sq ft wooden hut, inside which firemen found a hoard of cardboard and waste aluminium cans.
Police said the fire broke out at the hut in Fui Yiu Lane, near Lakeside Gardens, at about 1.30pm, and it spread so quickly that the whole hut was soon enveloped.
Firemen climbed up to the roofs of adjacent village houses and extinguished the fire in an hour.
The woman was confirmed dead on the second floor of the hut.
Li Chun-fat, assistant division commander of the New Territories East, Fire Services Department, said they did not believe the fire was suspicious.
'We were told that someone left the hut with a pot of water boiling, but we would also look at other possible causes of fire,' he said.
He said firemen had difficulty entering the hut because of the piles of waste cans and paper stored inside and the fallen debris of the hut structure.
The woman's nephew, known only as Mr Wong, 74, who was living with her, told police that he had gone out for a while, leaving a pot of water on a heap of burning wood.
Neighbours said Mr Wong was a scavenger who lived on waste collection and that the household cooked with broken wood pieces picked from the ground.