17 June 2018
As firefighters leave the scene, investigators take away the LPG can and gas stove for examination. Photos: Commercial Radio
As firefighters leave the scene, investigators take away the LPG can and gas stove for examination. Photos: Commercial Radio

Women seriously injured as new gas stove explodes

A gas stove that was bought the previous day exploded, causing serious injuries to a Sham Shui Po woman and her family’s Indonesian domestic helper, Apple Daily reported.

The accident took place in the kitchen of a flat in Lung On Building on Pei Ho Street, where a 55-year-old woman surnamed Chong and the 33-year-old maid, named Anita, were preparing lunch.

Police were told that the stove, which came with a 10.5kg Exxon Mobil can of liquefied petroleum gas, was bought on Sunday.

It suddenly burst into flames and exploded at about 11 a.m. Monday as the women were cooking lunch.

The blaze had gone out by the time firefighters and paramedics arrived, but Chong and Anita suffered serious burns on the face and limbs.

They were rushed to Princess Margaret Hospital, where doctors said Chong was in critical condition and Anita was being treated for severe injuries.

Chong was later transferred to Queen Mary Hospital, and Anita to Kwong Wah Hospital, Wen Wei Po reported.

Police concluded there was nothing suspicious at the scene and listed the case as a fire incident.

Staff from the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department took away the stove for examination to determine the cause of the explosion.

A department spokesman was quoted as saying the stove had a “GU” mark on it, which means it was a product approved by the Gas Authority under the Approval Scheme for Domestic Gas Appliances, and the volume of the can of LPG complied with legal requirements.

However, as the can was found to be only half full, which was not normal, because it was installed only the day before, an expert suspected that leakage of LPG occurred before the accident, because of improper installation.

The Hong Kong office of Exxon Mobil said initial inspection revealed that the LPG can was intact and there was no leakage. The company said it did not install the stove.

Wan Koon-sun, a former member of the government’s Electrical Safety Advisory Committee, said leakage of LPG for home use is often hard to detect, as it does not smell like gas, but the gas could accumulate near the ground once it leaks, as it is heavier than air, and a tiny spark could trigger an explosion.

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