消防員故事 / Fireman story
Fire fighters on Sunday night found a charred body at mezzanine floor of a building in Mong Kok, a downtown area of Kowloon in Hong Kong, raising the death toll of the fatal fire to four.
Police were still investigating the identity of the latest body found.
Earlier, two fire fighters and one woman were killed in the fire which raged in the 15-storey Cornwall Court, Nathan Road, for about six hours before it was extinguished.
Two fire fighters, 46-year-old senior fireman Siu Wing-fong and 25-year-old Chan Siu-lung, died on duty when they were searching from the ground floor to the top of the building.
The two unconscious fire fighters were found by other fire services staff climbing from a nearby building and separately sent to Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Kwong Wah Hospital, where they were later confirmed dead at around 14:04 local time (0404 GMT).
Doctors said they have inhaled too much toxic smoke.
According to the Fire Services Department, the 46-year-old Siu had 24 years of experience in fire services department while Chan joined the department a year ago.
Another woman, aged 77, was sent to Princess Margaret Hospital where she failed all emergency treatment.
Fire fighters battled for about six hours before putting out the fire at 15:13 p.m. local time (0713 GMT).
Forty of about 60 rescued residents were admitted into hospital. A 26-year-old man was in critical condition, three others were serious while the remaining 36 persons were in stable condition.
Another 15 residents were discharged from hospital shortly after receiving medical examination and treatment.
Henry Tang, Chief Secretary for Administration of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government, condoled on the losses of lives during his visit to families of the two fire fighters.
"I am deeply sorry for the losses of lives in the accident," Tang told reporters, adding "I want to thank the two fire fighters for what they had done for the society."
Tang pledged to render necessary assistance to the families of the two fire fighters and vowed to thoroughly investigate the cause of the fire.
The Fire Services Department has set up a special team to investigate the cause of the fatal fire.
Ambrose Lee Siu-kwong, Secretary for Security of HKSAR government, on behalf of Chief Executive Donald Tsang, expressed his deep condolence to the families of the fire fighters and the resident after visiting the fire scene.
"We're saddened by the passing away of our brave colleagues," Lee said, adding "we all share the grief with their families."
Lo Chun-hung, Director for Fire Services Department, inspected the building when it was still ablaze and lamented on the losses of two fire fighters.
Lo said the two fire fighters were equipped with fire uniforms and helmets before they went into the building to search for stranded residents.
He said the intensive heat and heavy smoke inside the building had made fire fighters' rescue efforts very difficult.
Apart from the two deaths, three other firemen were also injured when fighting the fire.
The fire started from a Karaoke ballroom on the second floor at about 9:20 a.m. local time (0120 GMT) and engulfed the entire building in a very short period of time, according to the preliminary investigation by fire fighters.
Heavy smoke billowing out of the building once darkened the skies nearby and pedestrians could see and smell the fire from blocks away.
A witness said he once tried to stamp out the fire with three extinguishers when the fire broke out but failed. Then he called the fire service department.
"Smoke is everywhere and it was as dark as night," he said.
Upon the report of the fire, the Fire Services Department mobilized more than 200 fire fighters and 40 fire engines to the scene, trying to bring the fire under control and evacuate residents, many of whom were still sleeping when the fire broke out.
Dozens of residents living near the building were forced to evacuate due to the pervading smoke while several exits of the mass transit railway (MTR) at Mong Kok were forced to close down due to the fire.
On May 22, 2007, a 27-year-old fireman died on duty in Hong Kong when fighting a midnight fire at an industrial building in Tsuen Wan.
( Selected News on CRIENGLISH.com )
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