A 53-year-old man was in critical condition with burns yesterday after an explosion in a gas stove in the kitchen which he had just repaired. He was having a smoke in the toilet in his Sheung Shui public housing flat.
The man, Lee, was conscious when he was rushed to Prince of Wales Hospital in Sha Tin with burns to his face and limbs. But he fell into a coma at the hospital.
About midnight yesterday, Lee was fixing a pipe of the gas stove while he was alone in his 16th-floor unit at Choi Wu House, Choi Yuen Estate.
Apparently the pipe came loose, leaking gas in the small flat.
Lee then entered the toilet for a smoke, before the explosion and fire happened, setting off the building's fire alarm.
Several residents reported to the police, saying there was an explosion and they saw fire at Lee's unit.
Neighbors managed to rescue Lee from the burning flat and put him in the corridor.
Some of them bandaged Lee's burns with plastic wraps as others tried to put out the flames with the fire hose but to no avail.
Firemen put out the fire after 15 minutes, and moved out dozens of residents.
Lee was taken to the hospital.
Fire services said the accident was not suspicious, believing it was caused by Lee smoking during a gas leak.
A neighbor said Lee was a quiet man but enjoyed repairing things in his spare time, including furniture.