The government will consider amending existing regulations or introducing new ones to oversee the fire safety standards of storage spaces and old industrial buildings, according to Tsang Wing-hung, the Deputy Chief Fire Officer of the Fire Safety Command. Tsang was speaking at a press conference on Friday in the aftermath of a fire lasting 108 hours at the Amoycan Industrial Centre in Ngau Tau Kok in June. Meanwhile, a fire broke out at another industrial building Thursday night.

The Fire Services Department, Buildings Department, and the Lands Department met with representatives from the storage-unit industry earlier that morning. Tsang said the investigation of mini-storage units is ongoing and is expected to be completed in two months.

Tsang Wing-hung. Photo: Youtube screencap.

“There are quite a few mini-storage units which are in violation of current laws,” he said. Among the problems are “insufficient passageways, insufficient hose wheel coverage, obstruction to fire safety [or] fire safety installations arising from the configuration of the mini-storage units,” he said, “we will take action to require the operator to rectify the safety hazards immediately.”

See also: Gov’t vows to inspect all mini storage units after day-long blaze claims life of firefighter

“We expressed clearly in the meeting that public safety and public interest are the only considerations of the government,” said Tsang.

A fourth-alarm fire lasting over 100 hours occurred at Amoycan Industrial Centre last month, prompting the government to take action on storage units. The fire took the lives of two firefighters.

Sham Shui Po fire

A third-alarm fire occurred on Thursday night at the Cheong Fat Factory Building at Sham Shui Po and was put out by Friday morning.

Third-alarm fire at Sham Shui Po.

A pair of siblings and a firefighter were sent to the hospital. According to Ming Pao, the brother and sister live in the industrial building close to where the fire occurred.  They are in stable condition. It is illegal to turn industrial use buildings into residential use without approval from the government under Hong Kong law.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer of Kowloon Tsang Wai-ming told local media that the fire occurred at a storage space on the eighth floor, though it was not a storage unit facility.

Chantal Yuen

Chantal Yuen is a Hong Kong journalist interested in issues dealing with religion and immigration. She majored in German and minored in Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University.