Nga Tsin Wai Tsuen, the last remaining walled village in Kowloon, saw a major fire accident in the early hours of Tuesday after a blaze began at a shop in the area.
Flames reached five meters in height, Apple Daily reported. Fire services personnel reached the spot and put out the blaze in less than two hours, according to the report.
Firemen said there were no suspicious circumstances, suggesting that the fire may have been just an accident.
The walled village, whose history goes back to over 600 years, had been included in redevelopment plans of the Urban Renewal Authority (URA).
Some people had expressed reservations about the redevelopment plans.
According to the URA, there were 17 residential and commercial households from the village that hadn’t yet moved out.
The fire is said to have broken out at 3:51 am Tuesday from a tuck shop inside the village. Four fire hoses, four breathing apparatus teams and a ladder were deployed by the firefighters.
Affected residents were evacuated to the nearby Tung Tau Tsuen Park.
The owner of the tuck shop, a person surnamed Lee, was quoted as saying that the village never had a fire accident in the past two decades.
Following Tuesday’s incident, he was doubtful if he would be able to reopen his store in the short run.
The URA said it has been in touch with residents of the village and that necessary assistance would be offered to them.
Only 17 out of the over 100 households have yet to accept URA’s compensation proposals to move out of the historical village to facilitate the redevelopment plan.
The URA has partnered with developer Cheung Kong Properties on a redevelopment of the site. It plans to put up two residential buildings containing a total of 750 units. As per the plan, three historical buildings in the village would be preserved.
– Contact us at [email protected]