Ngau Tau Kok fire

Second firefighter dies in Ngau Tau Kok blaze as precautionary evacuation measures put in place

Firefighter was one of three taken to hospital on Thursday, while government prepares buses and community centres to provide transport and shelter should evacuation be needed

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 June, 2016, 7:46pm
UPDATED : Friday, 24 June, 2016, 1:55am

A second firefighter has died battling the city’s longest-running blaze in two decades, while two others were taken to hospital with serious injuries on Thursday evening.

Senior fireman Samuel Hui Chi-kit, 37, from Kwun Tong fire station died after being taken to hospital on Thursday while senior station officer Thomas Cheung, 30, died battling the fire on Tuesday. A total of 11 others have been taken to hospital since the fire broke out.

The government also announced that several double-decker buses and two community centres in Kwun Tong and Lam Tin were on standby to provide transport and shelter for affected residents near the Ngau Tau Kok industrial building, where a fourth-alarm fire has been burning since 11am on Tuesday.

On Thursday afternoon, Citybus confirmed the government had hired two of their buses, which were seen parked in Kowloon Bay – a short distance from the scene.

“Arrangements will be announced by the government,” a Citybus spokeswoman said.

The police force’s insiders told the Post police had also made preparations in case of evacuation.

“Officers from the Police Tactical Unit are ready to be deployed to evacuate affected residents and cordon off the area,” one source said.

He said some police vehicles would be available to transport affected residents if necessary.

The sources added the measures were part of their precautionary measures.

Various departments such as police and Home Affairs Department said on Thursday afternoon that there was no plan to evacuate yet.

It is understood cracks were found on an exterior wall of the burning industrial building, but as it was not the core wall, there was no danger to the structure.

The blaze broke out at about 11am on Tuesday and was upgraded to a fourth-alarm fire later that night. Fires are rated on a scale of one to five, based on severity.

The blaze, which broke out at SC Storage – a mini-storage facility – has raised doubts about the fire safety standards of old industrial buildings in Hong Kong and whether there is a need for more stringent regulations at such facilities.

Firefighters said earlier that putting out the fire was a challenge because there were about 200 cubicles inside, all separated by metal sheets.