Blaze closes Lo Wu crossing

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 April, 2012, 12:00am


Fire broke out at the Lo Wu border crossing last night, closing the immigration post and leaving hundreds of agitated travellers waiting on the Hong Kong side.

The gate on the second floor of the crossing on Shenzhen's side was closed at 7.45pm, with smoke billowing from inside the building.

The fire was extinguished on the third floor by 9.45pm, and was under control on the fourth floor by 10.40pm.

Zou Donghui, an official at Louhu Port on the Shenzhen side, said his officers would 'try their best' to reopen the counters by 6am. He said the fire was caused by ageing electrical wiring from the 1980s.

Hundreds of people waited on the Hong Kong side in the hope the gate might open, but customs officers advised them to use the alternative crossing at Lok Ma Chau.

At 8.20pm, five fire engines arrived at the scene. Officers in masks came out of the station, dispersed the crowd and shut the main gate.

People flocked to Lo Wu railway station to take trains to the other checkpoints or back to Hong Kong as the smell of burning filled the 200-metre corridor from the checkpoint to the platform.

The Hong Kong Immigration Department said mainland authorities notified it of the fire at ut 8pm.

'The fire affected the operation of immigration counters on the Shenzhen side,' a department spokesman said last night.

A small number of people who had passed through Hong Kong immigration but remained in the building were brought back and arrangements were made for them to complete formalities at Lok Ma Chau.

The immigration counters on the Hong Kong side were closed last night.

MTR Corporation broadcast announcements in stations and on trains heading to Lo Wu, redirecting passengers to the Lok Ma Chau crossing.

It said it had put more trains on the Lok Ma Chau line to cope with the extra passengers.

Train services Lo Wu MTR station were not affected.