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Hong Kong rescue services

Hong Kong firefighters battle third-alarm blaze at bread and biscuits factory in Sham Tseng

Site belongs to Garden Company, city’s first bakery and confectionery maker dating back to 1926

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 September, 2018, 11:55am
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 September, 2018, 4:07pm

Firefighters battled a third-alarm blaze that broke out at a bread and confectionery factory in Hong Kong on Saturday morning.

No casualties have been reported so far.

The fire started at 8.48am at the Garden Company’s largest factory in Sham Tseng in the New Territories, according to a statement from a government spokeswoman.

An hour later, the Fire Services Department upgraded the blaze’s status to alarm No 3 – on a scale of one to five, with five being the most severe – to allocate more resources.

At 11.29am, the department said the blaze had been mostly put out, with one bread-making machine burned down in the process.

More than 50 employees in the building made their own way to safety.

The cause of the fire was still under investigation.

The Garden Company’s chief executive officer, Tong Lap-kei, said the fire had started on the factory’s 7th floor, where it produced English breakfast muffins for McDonald’s.

“Smoke and dust from a chimney rose to the top and caught fire, but we are still trying to look into it,” he added.

Asked if the fire would affect the supply of McDonald’s muffins, Tong voiced confidence it would not.

“Our machines are operating as usual and we have about four days’ worth of supplies.”

Tong said the production equipment was cleaned regularly and believed the incident was a one-off.

Firefighters put out early morning third-alarm blaze at old industrial building

In battling the blaze, the department deployed 183 firefighters to the scene and three water jets while mobilising four breathing apparatus teams.

The department’s acting divisional officer for New Territories South, Lui Yee-choi, said the factory had passed its annual fire safety inspection this year.

“The large area, thick smoke and high temperatures increased the difficulty of our firefighting efforts as well,” Lui added.

The factory spans some 70,000 square metres and operates production lines to make bread, cakes, biscuits and candies.

Established in 1926, the Garden Company is the city’s first bakery and confectionery maker.

In 2001, a No 4 alarm fire ripped through the same factory after welding work sparked a blaze. More than 120 workers working in the building escaped unhurt.