Shortly after the escalator accident at Langham Place in Mong Kok on Saturday, in which 18 people were injured, two more cases of malfunctioning escalators were reported on Monday, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The first involved an escalator at Metro Town in Tsueng Kwan O. At about 3 p.m. on Monday, an employee of the shopping mall reported to the police that smoke was coming out of the escalator near Exit B of the Tiu Keng Leng MTR Station.
Firemen soon arrived and put out a small fire. No one was injured.
Initial investigation showed that the fire could have resulted from dust that caught fire while welding work was being conducted near the elevator.
About two hours later, smoke was also reported emerging from an escalator leading to Exit A (Kai Tin Road) of the Lam Tin MTR Station, causing mild alarm among passengers.
No one was injured as MTR staff restored order and directed passengers to an alternative exit. Also, at least 11 firetrucks and an ambulance arrived to deal with the incident, am730 reported.
Initial investigation suggested that hydraulic fluid used for the escalator could have overheated and triggered the smoke.
As in the case of the escalator at Langham Place, Otis Elevator Co. (Hong Kong) is also the service contractor for the escalators at the Lam Tin MTR Station, an MTR spokesman said.
Escalators must be regularly inspected by their service contractors, according to the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department.
Wong Kai-hon, principal instructor (electrical) at the Vocational Training Council, said escalators at MTR stations are more prone to overheating than those in other buildings because they operate as long as eight to 10 hours every day.
He said the incident at Metro Town highlighted the need for escalators to be regularly maintained and inspected.
For example, workers should clean the dust stuck in escalators before performing welding work in the area.
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