About 200 residents were forced to flee from their 18-storey public housing block in Wong Tai Sin when a junk-filled flat burst into flames on Thursday morning.
Two of residents inhaled dense smoke and felt unwell after the fire that swept through the 14th-floor flat of Wang Fu House at Wang Tau Hom Estate. The two – a man, 24, and woman, 51 – were taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital and treated for smoke inhalation.
About 40 firemen using two water jets took less than an hour to put out the blaze, but spent another hour removing piles of burned junk that was crammed into the flat’s living room, bedroom and kitchen.
The junk, which included waste paper, discarded cartons, vases and furniture, was piled 1.2 metres high inside, with only a narrow pathway through it, according to Kowloon Tong fire station commander, Tse Lai-yiu.
He said the fact that the junk had been burning for some time before firefighters arrived hampered their efforts to put out the blaze.
“Our officers had to spend a lot of time to clear the junk and ensure no one was buried under it” he said.
One of residents said an elderly man lived alone in the flat and she believed he was a scavenger.
A fleet of eight fire engines and two ambulances were sent to the scene when the blaze broke out in the unattended 14th-fllor flat shortly before 8am.
One resident living on the same floor said dense smoke poured out from the burning flat and filled the corridor when she ran out of her flat.
The flames and dense smoke from the burning flat also blackened the outer walls and windows of the four floors above.
The fire was extinguished at 8.47am. The flat was severely damaged.
The fire station commander said nothing suspicious was found and it was possible the fire was caused by an electrical fault.