The fire broke out in an apartment block on Sunday night (Nov 15) in Yau Ma Tei, a busy area in Kowloon packed with old apartment blocks, shops and businesses. The Hong Kong government said those who died were four males and three females, with the ages of those killed and injured given as
between 8 and 48.
Fire officials said at a news conference early Monday that the cause of the blaze was still unknown.
The building lacked a sprinkler system and people were trapped in the back of the kitchen, according to fire services department officer Cheung Kwong-yuen.
The South China Morning Post newspaper said that this was the deadliest blaze since a 2011 fire that killed nine people. The paper reported that seven of those hospitalised were in critical condition Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam issued a statement shortly after midnight saying that she was “deeply saddened that the fire in Yau Ma Tei last night caused a number of deaths and injuries”. She also visited the site of the fire on Monday morning.
The incident highlights fire safety issues in older buildings in Hong Kong, some of which are not adequately outfitted with appropriate fire safety management systems.