HONG KONG - Several tourists from Singapore and Malaysia were among 25 people injured - seven critically - in a fire that raced through a residential building in Hong Kong on Sunday.
They were staying at Yesinn Hostel in the 24-floor Continental Mansion on Cheung Hong Street.
Seven of the injured were in critical condition in hospital with another six listed as serious, as a result of smoke inhalation, reported South China Morning Post (SCMP).
Another six are in stable condition, while the others have been discharged.
The blaze started at 7.23am when construction material in the building's back alley caught fire.
A married couple from Singapore, who stayed at the Yesinn hostel, told Hong Kong's The Standard: "The blaze was fierce and there was thick black smoke in the corridor.
"We tried to walk down the stairs, but it was very dark everywhere and we couldn't see."
The couple, known as Mr and Mrs Toh, faced a wall of smoke when they tried to escape from their room on the third floor, reported Hong Kong's Ming Pao.
Using a lighter, they made their way to the fifth floor where they found a fire escape.
It was their first trip to Hong Kong.
Another Singaporean, a 20-year-old man, also on his first visit to Hong Kong, said his room was near the source of the fire and he had passed out after breathing in too much smoke, reported Hong Kong's Oriental Daily.
He was eventually rescued by firefighters and woke up in hospital completely covered in soot. The hostel's third floor units were blanketed in smoke, which quickly filled the stairwells, preventing guests from fleeing.
Yesinn Hostel is a licensed guest house which conducts business on the third, fifth, 10th and 15th floors. Its staff are all from the Philippines.
The tourists and residents were asleep when the fire broke out. Most were evacuated by firemen.
THICK BLACK SMOKE
Japanese tourist Enna Konoma broke a window, climbed out and was rescued by a fireman.
She was staying on the 10th floor of the hostel. She paid about HK$250 (S$40) a night for her room. She said: "I was awakened by the acrid smell of smoke. When I opened the door, the corridor was filled with thick black smoke."
Ms Konoma was admitted to hospital with injuries to her left hand and left leg caused by broken glass. About 70 people from the building were evacuated, reported SCMP.
Mr Yu Chung-keung, the fire department's divisional commander for Hong Kong East, said the fire spread up bamboo scaffolding and mesh covers surrounding the building.
About 200 firefighters battled the blaze, which was put out at 9.20am.
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