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Tags: Hong Kong

Hong Kong building at site of deadly blaze failed to comply with fire safety orders

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Fire safety negligence in Hong Kong building leads to tragic blaze

A building in Hong Kong, identified as New Lucky House, witnessed a devastating fire on 10 April that resulted in the deaths of five individuals and serious injuries to 43 others.

This incident occurred in a structure that had blatantly failed to adhere to fire safety regulations issued 16 years prior, in 2008.

Despite numerous follow-ups and consultations with consulting firms, the required safety upgrades were not implemented.

The Building Department has also issued clearance orders for immediate rectifications, which were not met by the owners.

Building and regulatory failures

The fire safety orders mandated upgrades like replacing fire doors and installing fire-resistant materials around non-emergency facilities.

However, these were largely ignored by the building’s owners’ corporation.

The Hong Kong Fire Services Department’s last inspection of the building before the fire showed no immediate hazards, yet the tragedy unfolded shortly thereafter, highlighting a severe gap in compliance and enforcement.

Legislative responses and comments

The repeated failure to comply with safety mandates has prompted lawmakers to push for stronger legislative powers for enforcing fire safety regulations.

Roundtable lawmaker Michael Tien emphasized the lack of enforcement and the need for legislative reform: “They issued these fire orders, prevention, upgrading orders 16 years ago to this building. Today, they still haven’t done anything,” Tien remarked.

This sentiment was echoed by other lawmakers, advocating for the government to limit the number of guest houses in buildings to mitigate fire risks.

Lawmakers call for tighter rules on fire safety

The tragedy has led to widespread calls from lawmakers to expedite legal amendments that would empower authorities to enforce fire safety measures more effectively and bill non-compliant building owners for mandatory safety work.

This push for stricter regulations reflects a crucial need to address the systemic issues that allow such deadly incidents to occur.

IFSJ Comment

The tragic fire at New Lucky House serves as a grim reminder of the consequences of neglecting fire safety regulations.

It underscores the urgent need for rigorous enforcement of existing laws and possibly the introduction of more stringent measures to ensure compliance.

This incident highlights the broader challenges of aging infrastructure and the complex interplay between property rights and public safety in densely populated urban environments.

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