Woman critical after fire-extinguisher blast

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 November, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 09 November, 2009, 12:00am

A woman injured by debris from a fire extinguisher that exploded was in critical condition yesterday.

The victim, surnamed Ho, was admitted to the intensive care unit at Tuen Mun Hospital with serious injuries to her face and eyes.

She was on a ventilator and could not eat, according to the woman's god-daughter.

'Flesh from other parts of her body has been taken to reconstruct her injured face,' the god-daughter said.

The accident happened on Saturday at a retraining centre in Tuen Mun, where the 56-year-old was attending an estate management course conducted by the Federation of Hong Kong and Kowloon Labour Unions at a flat in Tak Ching Court.

'She has been jobless for some time, but she always stays positive. So she wanted to take up a retraining course in the hope of finding work,' the god-daughter said.

Director of Fire Services Gregory Lo Chun-hung said the extinguisher had been taken for examination and the department would seek to prosecute if it was found to have been used illegally.

Lo noted that fire extinguishers installed at buildings and other public places were subject to inspections every five years.

'The regulation does not apply to fire extinguishers that are used for training purposes,' he said.

The department was reluctant to further tighten regulations governing the use of extinguishers, Lo added.

Poon Siu-ping, vice-chairman of the union, admitted in response to media inquiries the 'use-by' dates of extinguishers at the centre that were not used for training had expired.

The union was awaiting their replacement later this month, he said.

The union said it would provide any assistance to the victim and her family, and the part of the training course that covered how to use fire extinguishers had been suspended.