Eight killed in Hong Kong tower fire: Police

A fire engulfed a Hong Kong residential tower on Wednesday, killing eight people and injuring 24, police said.

Last Updated: Nov 30, 2011, 10:52 AM IST

Hong Kong: A fire engulfed a Hong Kong
residential tower on Wednesday, killing eight people and injuring 24,
police said.

The injured were rushed to nearby hospitals as
firefighters battled to put out the blaze in the Mong Kok area
of Kowloon, police spokeswoman Candice Sui said.

"As far as we know eight people were found dead in the
fire and 24 people were injured," she said.
The cause of the fire was unknown and an investigation
was under way. A hot line had been set up to help people
search for missing or injured loved ones.

A government spokeswoman said the blaze broke out at a
street hawker`s booth around 4:40 am and quickly spread
through the residential complex.

"Eight charred bodies were found at the site," she said.
Officials could not immediately confirm local media
reports that the building had been subdivided into small
living spaces known as cubicles or cage homes, which are often
associated with fire risks.

A fire at a subdivided apartment building in Kowloon
killed four people earlier this year, prompting calls from
some lawmakers for a ban on cubicle flats.

But Chief Executive Donald Tsang rejected the calls,
acknowledging that rocketing apartment prices had forced many
residents to live in overcrowded buildings.

"Undoubtedly `sub-divided units` pose risks for building
safety, but they do provide accommodation for low-income
people not eligible for public housing," he said in an October
policy address.

"Banning `sub-divided units` across the board is
therefore not a solution."

PTI