Explosion rips through building hours after gas leak, killing one, injuring eight A 94-year-old woman, one of eight people injured in the Ngau Tau Kok gas blast, remained in critical condition in United Christian Hospital last night, while the police officer thrown from his motorcycle by a flying metal shutter had improved from critical condition to stable. A second woman had improved from critical to serious condition and an 82-year-old man was discharged late last night. Four other men, aged 20 to 58, had been discharged from hospital earlier. The explosion occurred at about 2.30pm under the Wai King Building, at the junction of Jordan Valley North Road and Ngau Tau Kok Road, about two hours after a gas leak had been reported and supply had been turned off. Liu Lok-chun, 89, fell into a metre-deep hole torn in the floor of the lift lobby and died later in hospital. Acting Kowloon Central Fire Services Department divisional commander Ma Ning said the blast severely damaged the mezzanine-floor lift lobby, a vacant ground-floor shop and a meter room behind the building. The blast flung debris across Ngau Tau Kok Road, slamming into a school, which was closed for the Easter holiday. A shutter at the front of a vacant shop was blown out of the building, hitting officer Lo Chi-cheung as he rode by. 'There was a loud bang. I thought a building had collapsed,' said a woman, giving her name only as Mrs Lau, who was about 100 metres from the shop. 'Debris flew on to the road and black smoke poured out from the shop. Dozens of pedestrians ran for shelter.' She said the sergeant, bleeding from an arm, lay motionless beside his motorcycle. Firemen said Ms Liu was with three other residents about to leave the building when the blast hit. One of the four, who was helping an elderly woman, said: 'There was a big bang. The others fell to the ground and the elderly woman fell off the staircase. 'There was another loud bang and debris from the false ceiling fell on to me.' An inter-departmental investigation team involving officers from the police, Fire Services and Electrical and Mechanical Services departments has been set up to investigate the blast. 'Preliminary investigation showed that a pocket of Towngas was hidden in space beneath the building but was undetected,' Mr Ma of the Fire Services Department said. 'The explosion occurred beneath the building when the gas was triggered by unknown source.' Debris damaged the window of a first-floor classroom at the Bishop Paschang Memorial School, where six students and a teacher were in a lesson. None was injured. Headmaster Au Wing-cheung said debris and glass fragments also flew into the outdoor playground. 'It's lucky that today was the first day of the Easter holidays and no students were there,' he said. Wai King Building resident Mak Tze-ming, 46, said he was leaving the building with his 94-year-old mother when he noticed a strong smell of gas and he was suddenly hit by flying rocks and wood. 'The blast then came suddenly and I was left unconscious,' Mr Mak, who suffered minor injuries to his arms, said. His mother, who was seriously injured, was transferred to Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The explosion collapsed an interior wall in the Wai King Building and ripped through a meter room. Mr Ma said the explosion happened about 30 metres from a manhole that was believed to be the source of the leak. Twenty-five fire engines and 100 firefighters attended the scene. Towngas said its staff had cut the gas supply about 20 minutes after the leak was reported.