Mini storage firms fear new fire code could kill industry

December 30, 2016 14:22
Officials announce the measures at an Inter-departmental press conference (inset). A fire in Ngau Tau Kok killed two firemen. Photos: CNSA, HKEJ

Two-thirds of Hong Kong's mini storage facilities do not comply with fire safety regulations.

The findings come after an inspection of 756 storage facilities following a fatal fire in June in Ngau Tau Kok that killed two firemen, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Terence Tsang, acting assistant director (fire safety) of the Fire Services Department, said his agency has issued 1,267 fire hazard abatement notices to 257 mini storage operators.

However, only 50 of them have complied with the requirements, he said.

Mini storage units could lose up to 30 percent of space by making the required adjustments, the FSD said, but added commercial benefits should not override public safety.

Meanwhile, the Buildings Department said it has issued 571 orders to 259 buildings for violation of the Buildings Ordinance.

The Lands Department said of the 871 premises inspected, 213 were suspected of violating the restriction of deeds.

Owners were given 28 days to ensure their property is compliant with the regulations.

The Labor Department said it has served 221 written warnings and pressed 13 charges relating to occupational safety.

According to a local trade association, industry players have already “upped their game” by banding together and promoting heightened safety awareness, setting various safety standards on fire prevention and security measures in order to restore public confidence.

The association said they felt powerless about the new FSD requirements and fear that the industry might be forced out of business.

It is planning to hold a press conference in mid-January to inform the public about the safety enhancements it has made.

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