Teenager dies in Yuen Long village house blaze

The girl's parents and elder sister survive the fire that started as they slept

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 27 May, 2013, 4:22am

A 16-year-old girl died in a fire at her family home in the early hours yesterday.

Firefighters had to force open the locked metal gate to the three-storey village house before they could get inside, said Wu Tze-fung, the Fire Services Department's divisional commander in New Territories West.

They found the girl unconscious on the ground floor with just a slight burn on one hand, but she was declared dead upon arrival at hospital.

Aerial platforms had to be used to reach her mother, 50, and 25-year-old sister on the first floor. The father, 55, escaped the blaze before firemen arrived at the house in Tan Kwai Garden, Hung Shui Kiu, Yuen Long.

Eleven fire engines with about 60 firefighters and four ambulances were sent to the scene. The flames were put out in about half an hour. The three survivors were admitted to Tuen Mun Hospital suffering from smoke inhalation. They were said to be in stable condition.

It was said the father suspected a mobile phone charger had caused the blaze, which broke out as the family slept.

Yuen Long-based Chief Inspector So Chun-kwong said that after speaking to the family, he believed arson was unlikely.

But he added: "We could smell inflammables on the ground floor of the house. Scientific evidence officers have conducted preliminary investigations at the scene and obtained certain things for laboratory tests before we can confirm if there were any combustibles."

He said staff from the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department were looking into the possibility of a short circuit.

A man said he tried in vain to pry open the front door after seeing smoke billowing from the house. Two neighbours then tried to climb up to the first floor to save the family while others tried to put out the fire.