Residents forced to walk over rooftop to their flats

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 31 December, 2013, 3:35am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 31 December, 2013, 4:50am

The lingering smoke smell grows stronger as residents of Continental Mansion walk down the unlit staircase to their flats, many of which are still without power or water.

With the elevator knocked out by Sunday's fire, residents of the North Point building's rear block have to take the front block's lift to the 24th floor and walk to and from their own homes via the rooftop.

Some residents of the rear block had to borrow flashlights from the security counter before taking the lift.

The heat of the fire that broke out in a rear alleyway left its mark on the white-painted walls of the building's corridors, with the staircases and walls stained black and the paint blistered.

Residents had no idea when the lift would be working again.

Chiu Kin-san, chairwoman of the building owners' corporation, said the cable, which was melted by the fire, could not be changed until the insurance company's loss adjuster had finished the claim assessment.

In a third-floor hostel, smartphones and shoes still lay scattered on the floor, illustrating how guests rushed to escape after being awakened by the fire.

Fire Services Department workers were examining the building yesterday to see if fire safety regulations were being complied with: examining, for example, whether different floors had fire doors that closed fully.

Michelle Yeung, a resident on the fourth floor of the rear block, said the fire alarm had been out of order and she was unaware of the fire until firefighters knocked on her door and woke her up.

"Our domestic helper said the alarm did ring, but only for a few seconds," Yeung said.

"The corridor was pitch black and filled with smoke when we left our flat."