Survivors 'don't owe us anything'

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 August, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 August, 2008, 12:00am

Two sisters of Chan Siu-lung, the 25-year-old fireman killed in the Mong Kok blaze, have told survivors not to think they owe anything to the family and to treasure their lives.

The family also said it wished people would be more responsible for the fire safety of their buildings instead of blaming the government for failing to carry out inspections.

One sister said: 'We feel sad that we lost Siu-lung ... We feel that Siu-lung did it because it was his duty. We feel honoured and we respect him.'

Speaking during a radio phone-in programme yesterday, the sisters said the family knew many people were moved by what had happened and praised the bravery of their brother and senior fireman Siu Wing-fong, 46.

'We want to say thanks here and we know they really cared. Their support is vital and they really make us feel better. We hope residents [of Cornwall Court] will not feel indebted to us ... we hope they can stand up and face their lives ahead. We think it is better for us if they can live a better life.'

Chan's eldest sister noted that being a fireman was a risky job.

'Other than firemen, the jobs of police, customs and other disciplinary forces are also very dangerous. We want to salute them here.'

The family hoped people would in future take more responsibility for their safety.

'We know that there are many comments on the incident criticising the government for failing to monitor buildings. But what we think is that we should all do what we are supposed to do. If we all play our part, our responsibilities, for sure we can avoid a repeat of many similar incidents.'

His sisters noted that their mother, though saddened by Siu-lung's death, had accepted the reality of it.

Describing Siu-ling as an independent person who always took care of the family, they thanked the generosity of the public who had donated to the family through an account set up by the Fire Services Department Staffs General Association.

They said they would keep a small amount for their parents and give most to charity. 'We feel there are many people in society who need to be helped.'