Environment & Health Hong Kong

Gov’t inspects over 730 mini storage units after fatal fire; over a third require safety improvements

The government has inspected 733 mini storage units in Hong Kong and found that many of them violated the Buildings Ordinance.

Michael Pang Yuk-lung, chief building surveyor, said that the main issue was that fire escape routes were too few in number, and they were too long, as storage units took up much of the space. As of December 23, the Buildings Department has issued 571 orders to 259 mini storage units demanding they fix the issues.

The inter-departmental inspections came after a four-alarm fire in June at mini storage units in Ngau Tau Kok left two firefighters dead.

mini storage fire

Photo: Chanadda Jackta via HK Incident Facebook.

Pang said the department may consider further legal action if the demands of the orders were not met within the stated deadline.

Terence Tsang Wing-hung, acting assistant director (fire safety) of the Fire Service Department, said there were at least 885 mini storage units in Hong Kong, and 756 have been inspected.

The department issued more than 1,200 Fire Hazard Abatement Notices to 257 mini storage units, of which 50 have been complied with.

It found several issues posing potential fire hazards including exit door locks which do not meet regulations, areas covered by fire hoses which are not large enough, inadequate numbers of exit signs and directions, blocked windows, and storage units which are too long or too big.

storage unit fire

Photo: InMedia.

Patrick Leung Yun-hing, principal land executive of the Lands Department, said the department inspected land leases of locations where 871 mini storage units were located, and 213 were suspected to be violating land leases.

Thomas Chan Cheung-hing, chief occupational safety officer of the Labour Department, said the department issued 13 improvement notices, 221 written warnings and filed 13 prosecutions to demand improvements to working environments.

Gov't inspects over 730 mini storage units after fatal fire; over a third require safety improvements