One hurt as extinguisher explodes

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 November, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 November, 2009, 12:00am

A woman was injured by debris from a fire extinguisher that exploded as she was being taught how to use it at a retraining centre in Tuen Mun yesterday.

The accident occurred when the 56-year-old woman was attending an estate-management training course conducted by the centre, which is operated by the Federation of Hong Kong and Kowloon Labour Unions, in a flat in Tak Ching Court.

Poon Siu-ping, vice-chairman of the union, said the woman, surnamed Ho, was learning how to use a water-type fire extinguisher with another 14 people. An instructor had demonstrated how to discharge the extinguisher before allowing students to try it in turn.

Poon said that the instructor and another participant had used the extinguisher before the woman.

But when she tried to discharge it, it exploded.

Debris injured the woman's face and eyes. Ambulance workers took her to Tuen Mun Hospital.

The union said that it was concerned about the case and wished the woman a quick recovery.

'The course has been held for quite a long time, and the responsible teacher is a qualified one who has taught many classes before,' Poon said, adding that all similar courses organised by the group would be suspended until completion of an investigation into the matter by the Fire Services Department.

Director of Fire Services Lo Chun-hung said that fire extinguishers inspected regularly should be safe to use. While stressing that he did not know the details of the case, pending the department's investigation, he said that a fire extinguisher would only explode if heated or without proper maintenance.

He said that the pressure in this type of extinguisher was not massive and that it would not burst easily.