Construction workers yesterday burned offerings in a ritual to appease evil spirits at the ill-fated Garley Building after one of their colleagues lost an arm in an accident on Monday. A fire extinguisher, which exploded, severing the arm of the 35-year-old worker, and shot 12 storeys in the air, was removed by firemen. The accident was apparently caused by a gas leak. After the offering, about 20 of the workers gathered at the site of the accident to pray for their colleague. The victim remained in Queen Elizabeth Hospital in a serious condition yesterday. The ritual lasted almost an hour before workers resumed tearing down the building, the site of an inferno which killed 40 people eight years ago. A shopping mall will be built on the site. None of the workers wanted to speak about the incident. Kit Leung, a waitress at a nearby restaurant, said: 'They should build the mall as soon as possible. We can't keep burdening this district with mentions of the Garley Building's dark past. 'There's no point lingering in superstitious thoughts. We must move on.' She hoped the area around the building could be revived. But forgetting about the building's past might be difficult, according to Mimi Leung, a saleswoman at a local store. 'Whenever Garley Building is mentioned, everybody thinks about 1996, the year it burned down. Some of my friends don't even dare walk on the street around it. 'Things were just getting better and nobody expected such a gruesome accident to happen right at the very end, when the mall is about to be built.' She was angry at media coverage of the incident and what she felt were attempts to sensationalise it. 'Construction accidents happen all the time. It's like they're trying to scare us, and it doesn't help.'