Fisherman Fan Chuk-shan, 65, lost his home and all fishing equipment in the Tai O fire but thanked his luck for the narrow escape. 'There were five people in the house and three were elderly. When we first heard the cries for help from outside, we weren't sure what to do,' he said. 'The villagers planned an escape route in case of a fire. But last night we didn't know which way to go at the beginning because the wind was blowing in different directions. 'But luckily our son came home to visit us on Saturday night with his friend. They carried my wife and my mother on their backs as we ran for our lives.' The fire, which burned for six hours, destroyed 90 huts and left 296 people homeless. Mr Fan said he lost all his assets - the house and fishing equipment that cost tens of thousands of dollars. His house was not insured. 'It's sad the house was burnt down because we're the fifth generation of the family to live here,' he said. Half of the about 2,200 villagers are elderly. They have lived most of their lives as fishermen, although some younger residents found jobs in the city as the fishing industry diminished over the years. Chan Shan, 71, said she was out with her children and relatives when the fire started. 'Everything was burnt in my own house. I only have my identity card and wallet on me.'