HONG KONG - At least two Singaporeans were injured when fire raced through an apartment block that houses both residential units and budget lodgings for tourists in Fortress Hill, Hong Kong, on Sunday morning.
A Singaporean couple was staying at Yessin Hostel on the third floor of Continental Mansion when the fire broke out at around 7am. They told Apple Daily they tried to walk down the nearest flight of stairs but failed as thick smoke had engulfed the space.
They then ran up to the fifth floor, found another exit and managed to escape from the blaze.
Both were taken to a public hospital for treatment.
Oriental Daily and Apple Daily reported that a 33-year-old Singaporean woman was among the critically injured. She went to Hong Kong with three friends to celebrate Christmas. All of them sustained injuries.
Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs told The Straits Times that the Singapore Consulate-General in Hong Kong is in touch with affected Singaporeans, and is rendering consular assistance to them and their families.
A total of 24 people were warded, a spokesman for the Hong Kong government's Information Services Department told The Straits Times.
As of yesterday, four people - one man and three women - remained in critical condition. Another four were in serious condition, and six others were stable. Ten have been discharged, the spokesman said.
All the injured on the critical list - including three Malaysians - were tourists staying in the 23-storey building.
Those in hospital were treated for breathing difficulty after inhaling too much smoke and fractures suffered when they dashed to safety.
According to Hong Kong's fire service department, the fire began in an alley between two blocks that make up Continental Mansion and spread quickly to the upper floors.