Kwun Tong killer blaze blamed on electrical fault

Witness tells of screams and attempts to put out flames after more than 400 people evacuated

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 December, 2016, 9:35am
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 December, 2016, 11:44pm

An investigation by authorities into a No 2 alarm fire early Thursday in which a woman died revealed no suspicious causes.

According to witnesses, sounds of an explosion were heard when the fire broke out at midnight in Cha Kwo Ling village, Kwun Tong.

The Fire Services Department suspects the cause of the blaze may be traced to an electrical fault, but it was still investigating.

The scorched area was sealed off from the public.

Some 170 huts, housing 410 people, were evacuated as the fire raged.

The homeless were advised to take temporary shelter in Kwun Tong community hall.

According to the department, no suspicious or illegal flammable material was found in the two-storey brick and tin sheet hut that caught fire when it was vacant.

Another nine similar shacks located next to it in the most uphill part of the east Kowloon site were also destroyed.

A witness, who wished to be known only by his surname, Chen, said he was sleeping when he heard his neighbours screaming about the fire.

He said a few male residents nearby took out water hoses from their own huts to fight the blaze but were unsuccessful. He then fled the area.

“I saw [the victim] peeping out of her hut and we asked her to go, but I guess in the end she was too shocked and perhaps could not leave,” Chen said.

A villager surnamed Suen, who claimed to be a friend of the dead woman, said the victim was a cleaning lady and had to hobble when walking because of a bacterial infection.

Throughout the day, some residents who had been evacuated returned to see if they could go back inside their huts.

Suen and his two-month-old baby had spent the night at his friend’s place. “The fire was so big and the walkway so narrow ... we could not go back because you would not be able to get out again,” he said.