HKSAR gov't to inspect 2,500 aged buildings in aftermath of fatal fire

HONG KONG, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- The government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) said it will complete the inspection of some 2,500 domestic or composite buildings aged 60 or above by the end of this year, in the aftermath of a deadly fire on Sunday night.

Fire fighters and police officers investigate a fire scene in Hong Kong, south China, Nov. 15, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)

The fire incident on Canton Road has caused seven deaths so far. Ten people are still hospitalized, with seven in critical condition and one in serious condition.

The Fire Services Department (FSD) has set up a dedicated investigation team to probe the cause of the fire and the related severe casualties.

The FSD and the Buildings Department will embark on a special exercise with a target to complete the inspection of some 2,500 domestic or composite buildings that are aged 60 or above by the end of this year and pay special attention to the condition of the buildings' common means of escapes and whether there are fire hazards, the government said in a statement.

HKSAR Chief Executive Carrie Lam inspected the scene of the fire incident on Monday and instructed relevant departments to take follow-up actions.

The Social Welfare Department and the Home Affairs Department (HAD) will render all necessary assistance to the victims of the fire accident, Lam said.

As the deceased and injured are ethnic minorities, the HAD will learn about their needs through organizations dedicated to providing support services for ethnic minorities, and will arrange appropriate counseling services. The district office will provide assistance to families of the deceased and injured in their applications for the Emergency Relief Fund or the Special Aid Fund, as well as liaise on behalf of them with various assistance funds operated by other charitable organizations.

"The HKSAR government attaches great importance to fire safety in buildings, in particular those aged buildings with fire safety facilities not up to the current standard. We hope to enhance fire safety in buildings and improve the living environment of residents through urban renewal and building rehabilitation," Lam said.