Smoke-filled college evacuated amid fire

Top News | Phoebe Ng 10 Nov 2017

A woman was overcome by smoke and more than 700 students and teachers at a nearby school were evacuated yesterday after a third-alarm fire engulfed a factory building in San Po Kong.

The fire, believed to have been caused by an air purifier, broke out in a second- floor unit in phase two of the industrial estate, which housed a production company.

It flared out of control as the studio was full of flammable items and junk. An employee alerted Fire Services at 12.15pm when he saw thick smoke billowing out of the unit before fleeing with a 26-year-old female staff member.

She was sent to Queen Elizabeth Hospital suffering from smoke inhalation.

Wong Hau-on, fire division officer of Kowloon Central, said the blaze was largely put out by 8.02pm.

A total of 52 fire engines, eight ambulances and 256 firemen were deployed.

The fire spread "abnormally fast" due to the accumulation of highly inflammable materials including canvas, plastic and fibers, he said.

"It was difficult to enter the office. Temperature was very high," Wong added.

Firemen used four jets and mobilized breathing apparatus teams to combat the blaze, which was brought under control more than six hours later.

Fire Services quickly raised the alarm level to three after the blaze was first reported.

About 700 students and teachers at Cognitio College, opposite the factory building, were evacuated. The secondary students were seen evacuating in a quiet and serious manner as they filed out in orderly lines.

A resident who lives on a rooftop flat in an old nine-story building nearby rushed out after seeing smoke entering the flat. "I heard several explosions too," he said. "I was not too scared though. My building is on the opposite side of the road."

Visibility in the area dropped to about 50 meters, and traffic was brought to a near standstill as firemen closed off several sections to facilitate fire control.

It is understood the production studio belonged to OutwardXpert.

To express their gratitude to firefighters who fought the stubborn flames for hours, a couple of neighborhood eateries sent them drinks and snacks. Nearby residents were not required to evacuate but were reminded to close their doors and windows to keep the smoke out.

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