Apathy among Mei Foo residents contributed to the fire on their housing estate which killed nine people, it was claimed in the Coroner's Court yesterday. The director of the company charged with running the Mei Foo Sun Chuen Estate said while his staff had done their best to educate residents, community seminars had been poorly attended and only 20 out of 75,000 residents had taken part in the fire drill before the blaze. Residents have accused the Broadway Nasser company of failing to heed warnings about broken and open fire doors. Director Geoffrey Green told Coroner Ian Thomas: 'I think we have done as much as we can within our power in relation to fire safety. The education process in understanding fire safety and keeping smoke doors closed is a Hong Kong problem, not a Mei Foo problem.' He said the company, which employed 347 staff to run the estate, regularly reminded residents of fire safety and the importance of closing smoke doors in weekly newsletters and on safety notices displayed in lift lobbies. Staff also manned a 24-hour hotline. 'Organised fire drills are extremely difficult to implement in residential buildings as we have no legal right to make residents leave their flats and co-operate. 'No one seems to fear or be responsive to safety drills,' Mr Green said, adding that it would be helpful if the law made it mandatory for smoke doors to be inspected regularly and made fire drills compulsory. Mr Green said occupants had been unprepared to pay additional costs for security guards to be installed in the 99 towers on the West Kowloon estate and 'we were unable to persuade the owner's representatives to pay for a security guard' for each block. 'There are 10,000 smoke doors at Mei Foo and we did not have enough staff to check on smoke doors daily. 'We are responsible for the budget and we cannot spend the owner's money without their approval. We have to balance the costs.' Mr Green said repairing and replacing smoke doors was an ongoing procedure. 'We cannot guarantee that all smoke doors are in working condition at any one time,' he said. The estate receives $100 million from its occupants each year and would spend about $2 million on extra fire alarm bells and $1.6 million on upgrading smoke doors, said Mr Green. The inquest into the blaze continues today.