The Fire Services Bureau (CB) said in a statement on Monday that the water pressure of the fire hydrant system of Kong Fok Cheong Garden residential estate in Areia Preta, which was hit by a huge blaze on Sunday, has meanwhile been confirmed to have been insufficient for the fire-fighting operation on that day.
While overseeing the fire-fighting operation, Fire Services Bureau Commissioner Leong Iok Sam told reporters at the scene on Sunday night that it took firefighters a lot of time to get the fire under control as when they arrived at the scene they assumed that there was no water in the building’s fire hydrant system. Therefore, the firefighters decided to pump water from a water tender to the building so that they could fight the fire.
“The Fire Services Bureau is paying close attention to the fire that happened in Kong Fok Cheong Garden in Areia Preta yesterday [on Sunday], and convened a meeting of the relevant senior officers and frontline officers this [yesterday] morning so as to gain a clearer understanding of the fire. All the officers said that there was water in the building’s fire protection system but the water pressure was insufficient to carry out the firefighting tasks,” the statement said.
The statement also said that officers of the bureau’s Fire Prevention Department went to the building yesterday morning, where they carried out an on-site test of its fire hydrant system, in conjunction with staff members of the company which supplied the system. There they confirmed that “the fire hose can discharge water normally”. Therefore, the statement said, the bureau will need to investigate the cause of Sunday’s insufficient water pressure.
The statement urged residents to strengthen the maintenance of the devices and equipment in their buildings’ fire prevention and fire fighting systems and to carry out maintenance of their systems at least once every 12 months to ensure that they are always in good condition.
The blaze broke out in a flat on the sixth floor of Block 4 of Kong Fok Cheong Garden next to Areia Preta Park shortly after 4 p.m. on Sunday. The fire spread to an adjacent flat and a flat on the seventh floor. The fire was only brought under control at 7:30 p.m. before being finally extinguished at around 8:30 p.m. – about four hours after it had erupted.
Five residents felt unwell after inhaling smoke during the blaze and were rushed to hospital for examination and treatment. Firefighters evacuated about 150 residents during the blaze.
The bureau said on Sunday it believed that the cause of the fire was due to an electrical fault in the flat where the fire started.
The bureau deployed 19 fire engines and 110 firefighters to battle the blaze.
Leong said on Sunday that during their fire-fighting operation, firefighters found that a large number of goods were being stored in the flat where the fire broke out so that the fire quickly spread and it took firefighters several hours to extinguish the fire. Leong said that his bureau would investigate whether the owner of the flat was illegally using it as a warehouse and whether the goods included inflammable items.
Leong also said on Sunday that it was the first time that his bureau deployed a drone during a fire-fighting operation with the purpose of looking for any people who were possibly trapped. Leong said that the use of the drone during Sunday’s operation proved to be effective, as it allowed firefighters to clearly monitor the situation of the fire where it had erupted, as well as other flats and the rooftop.
About two dozen residents sought refuge on the building’s rooftop during the fire-fighting operation.