Man dies after stove sets fire to jacket

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 February, 2008, 12:00am

An 87-year-old man died after his kitchen stove set his down jacket on fire at his Tsing Yi home yesterday.

His wife, 83, suffered minor burns to her hands while trying to put out the flames in their flat in Hong Kwai House, Cheung Hong Estate. The tragedy happened at about 11.20am when the man, surnamed Au, went to the kitchen to check on soup that was heating on the stove.

'Initial investigation indicated that the sleeve of his down jacket was ignited by the stove's flame,' a police officer said.

The victim was unable to take off his burning jacket or run out of the kitchen because he was too old and had difficulty walking, police said. His wife dialed 999 and told police that Au's upper body was on fire.

Three fire engines and an ambulance arrived in four minutes, but the blaze had burned out by then.

'His jacket was burned to ashes,' a spokesman for the Fire Services Department said. 'The elderly man suffered severe burns to his upper body... he was declared dead at the scene by paramedics.'

His wife was taken to Princess Margaret Hospital for treatment to her hand injuries and shock, and was later discharged.

No damage to the unit was reported and no evacuation was needed. The couple had moved into the unit over a year ago, neighbours said.