A lawmaker has urged the government to open holiday camps and arrange buses to enable residents living near the Ngau Tau Kok fire scene to escape the area. The fourth-alarm blaze has been burning for more than 72 hours.

Democratic Party lawmaker Wu Chi-wai, of the Kowloon East constituency, said that although two community centres are currently open for residents in the district, a longer-term option may be necessary because of the heavy smoke, risk of explosion and potential collapse of the building.

Wu said residents should be given the choice of staying in holiday camps – which have more facilities – and the government should arrange buses to transport them to the community centres and the holiday camps. Although the government has hired buses to transport residents, the buses have yet to be utilized.

Wu Chi wai
Wu Chi-wai. File Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Holiday camps have been deployed in the past to provide longer-term accommodations during pandemics.

The fire has claimed the lives of two firefighters.

Wu demanded that the Fire Services Department stop sending firefighters inside the building if there was no one trapped inside, to ensure the firemen’s safety.

He also asked the government to release updated information on a regular schedule, advising whether the building contains dangerous chemicals or batteries, and whether the building is in risk of collapse. He said if information shows that such risks exist, the government should make a contingent evacuation plan for the worst case scenario.

Wu also went to the Fire and Ambulance Services Academy in Tseung Kwan O on Friday to sign a book for condolences.

Ngau Tau Kok fire
Photo: InMedia.

The fire at the Amoycan Industrial Centre started at 10:59am on Tuesday on the third floor, and has spread to the fourth floor.

Kong Ping-lam, acting assistant director (Kowloon) of the Fire Services Department, said on Friday morning that half of the fire on the third floor was out, and the firefighters were still watering the floor to lower the temperature.

The progress on the fourth floor, meanwhile, met the department’s expectation, Kong said. Kong added that there were smoke coming out of the fifth floor, and the sixth floor was not affected.

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.