The Ngau Tau Kok industrial building blaze, which continues to burn after 72 hours, is one of the most difficult fires ever seen in Hong Kong’s history, Mak Kam-fai, chairman of the Government Disciplined Services General Union has said.

Citing observations from firefighters, Mak said at a press conference that the third floor of the Amoycan Industrial Centre – where the fire began – was burning in many different colours of flame, suggesting that many different kinds of materials were alight.

Photos at the scene provided by firefighters.

The colours range from yellow, blue, white to purple, representing temperatures of between 600 and 1,000 degrees Celsius.

Mak said that it was a rare scene. “It was not a safe environment that people would normally imagine, it was very bad,” Apple Daily reported Mak saying.

Photos at the scene provided by firefighters.

The floor has over 200 mini storage units and many have yet to broken open by firefighters. Temperatures on the floor often reaches several hundred degrees celsius.

The units were sealed by metal plates, with objects stacked up to the ceiling. It therefore took firefighters a long time to cool the area down.

Photos at the scene provided by firefighters.

Burnt wiring on the floor blocked firefighters from entering and leaving the scene, as the metal plates on the floor were burnt into irregular shapes, hindering demolition, Mak said.

Mak also said that speculation over the incident was unfair to firefighters. The management of the Fire Services Department on the ground has been continually evaluating the scene to form strategies to adapt to the changes, he added.

Photos at the scene provided by firefighters.

Earlier on Friday, Kong Ping-lam, acting assistant director (Kowloon) of the Fire Services Department, said that fire in half of the area on the third floor had been put out, and firefighters were using two turntable ladder monitors to lower the temperature.

He added the operation on the fourth floor was up to expectations, as two turntable ladder monitors were deployed to lower the temperature.

Photos at the scene provided by firefighters.

Smoke, meanwhile, was still coming out of the fifth floor, but the temperature of the floor has decreased. Kong said the department contacted the occupiers using the sixth and seventh floor and no dangerous articles were reported.

Mak said it showed the department’s strategies have worked.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.