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Friday, September 30, 2016, 00:36

Meeting to examine fire safety at fruit market

By Dara Wang
Meeting to examine fire safety at fruit market
People watch firefighters putting off a three-alarm fire at the Yau Ma Tei Wholesale Fruit Market on Sept 4. (Roy L iu / China Daily)

HONG KONG - The government will hold a public consultation meeting to study fire safety improvements at the Yau Ma Tei Wholesale Fruit Market, the Fire Services Department (FSD) revealed.

This came after the Yau Tsim Mong District Council on Thursday urged the FSD to inspect and improve fire extinguishing facilities at the fruit market, where a third-alarm blaze broke out on Sept 4.

So far, no requirements have been made for fire facilities at the fruit market, the department said. No equipment has been installed other than some fire drenchers used by fire fighters, Yau Ma Tei Fire Station revealed to China Daily.

The fire station said the fruit market, a provisional building, was very old and dated back to 1913. It was therefore difficult to set standards for its fire extinguishing facilities.

The fruit market, known as “gwo laan” in Cantonese, is classified as a grade two historic building by the Antiquities Advisory Board.

At a Yau Tsim Mong District Council meeting on Thursday, District Councilor Yu Tak-po expressed concern about air pollution in the neighborhood where schools are located. Schools located near the fruit market include: Yaumati Catholic Primary School, Tung Koon District Society Fong Shu Chuen School and CCC Wanchai Church Kei To Primary School.

Yu said the building materials of some burnt stalls contained asbestos. Inhalation of asbestos fibers could cause serious diseases such as lung cancer, according to the Environmental Protection Department (EPD).

In a written reply to the district council on Sept 19, the EPD said no air pollution was detected.

District Councilor Lam Kin-man urged the Development Bureau to implement a relocation plan for the fruit market soon.

Lam said the fruit market, located in a densely populated district, mainly operates at night. This has caused disturbances to nearby residents. However, the relocation has been pending for over 10 years, he added.

At least 10 stalls in Yau Ma Tei Wholesale Fruit Market were burned after one of them caught fire on Sept 4.

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