HONGKONG - A fire that erupted near a residential building in Hong Kong on Sunday morning has left four Singaporean tourists injured, one of them - a 33-year-old woman - in critical condition.
They were among 25 people hurt after the fire broke out in an alley next to Continental Mansion, located in Cheung Hong Street in North Point. Seven of them were in critical condition, mostly because of smoke inhalation, according to Hong Kong media reports.
Among the Singaporean victims were a married couple on a five-day trip - they were visiting Hong Kong for the first time.
When interviewed by the Hong Kong media, the couple, surnamed Du, said the smoke was so dense that they had to go up to the fifth storey of the building before escaping via a staircase. They were shaken, but did not sustain any serious injuries.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told MyPaper that the Singapore Consulate-General in Hong Kong is "in touch with the affected Singaporeans and rendering consular assistance to them and their families".
The others injured in the incident included tourists from Malaysia, Korea, Japan and China.
The 22-storey building houses a few hostels, including Yessinn Hostel Fortress Hill, which was the most badly damaged. The Hong Kong media said some of these hostels were operating illegally.
The fire started at 7.23am on Sunday, while residents and tourists were asleep. Construction debris in the alley had caught fire and spread up bamboo scaffolding and mesh covers that surrounded the building, said Mr Yu Chung-keung, regional commander of the fire department's Hong Kong East division. Police are investigating the cause of the fire.
Firefighters arrived at the scene three minutes after they received emergency calls, and put out the blaze in two hours. A total of 74 people were evacuated from the building.
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