Investigators get to work after LPG tanker blaze in Yau Ma Tei

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 July, 2013, 4:07am

A mystery spark caused a seven-hour emergency when it set alight liquefied petroleum gas seeping from a tanker during the transfer of 15,000 litres of the gas to an underground tank at a filling station.

Firefighters quickly doused the flames, but a fire crew kept spraying water on the damaged vehicle for more than seven hours while 800 litres of gas remaining in the tank was released into the air.

A valve assembly on the left of the vehicle caught fire when "an unknown spark" set the gas alight at an ECO station in Hau Cheung Street, Yau Ma Tei, at about 12.15pm, the Fire Services Department said.

Police closed part of nearby Kwun Chung Street to traffic while the remaining gas was released.

"Firemen sprayed water on the tanker in an effort to dilute the concentration of the gas released from the vehicle," a department spokesman said.

Emergency crews were called when the leak triggered the station's gas detector and activated an automatic sprinkler system.

Firefighters extinguished the flames in three minutes. No one was injured.

ECO Environmental Investments, which operates the filling station, said that the left side of the vehicle was blackened by the fire.

A company spokeswoman said it was the first such incident since the firm, a subsidiary of Towngas, began operating gas filling stations in Hong Kong in 2000.

She said the station would be re-opened after the vehicle has been removed and an inspection by firemen carried out to ensure it was safe.

The Electrical and Mechanical Services Department, meanwhile, said it was investigating the cause of the fire.

A spokesman said that ECO was required to submit an investigation report within a week.