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Interdepartmental follow-up on vehicle repair workshop explosion in Wong Tai Sin

     A Government spokesman said today (April 27) that the government is very concerned about the vehicle repair workshop explosion in Wong Tai Sin yesterday in which three persons died and eight persons were injured. The Secretary for Security, Mr Lai Tung-kwok, chaired an interdepartmental meeting today to set up a taskforce to follow up on the incident.

     Representatives from the Security Bureau and six government departments, namely Fire Services Department (FSD), the Hong Kong Police Force, Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD), Buildings Department (BD), Transport Department (TD) and Home Affairs Department (HAD), attended the meeting today.

     The FSD has established a fire investigation team to probe into the cause of the fire and the circumstances leading to the fatalities and casualties. The Government Laboratory will also expedite its action in this regard. In light of the incident, the FSD conducted inspections on some 50 vehicle repair workshops in Wong Tai Sin today. So far, there was no sign of over-storage of dangerous goods or unauthorised hot works (use of oxy-acetylene cylinders for welding) inside the vehicle repair workshops. The FSD will continue the inspection with a view to checking all the 2 700 vehicle repair workshops throughout the territory, as advised by the EMSD, as early as practicable.

     Initial investigation by the EMSD indicated that the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) tank of the taxi in the vehicle repair workshop concerned remained intact on the surface. Further inspections have yet to be conducted. The EMSD reiterated that under the Gas Safety Ordinance, prior approval must be obtained for storage of LPG in excess of 130 litres, and that 29 workshops have been granted such approval. Any works involving the LPG fuel system of an LPG vehicle should be performed or supervised by Competent Persons under the ordinance.

     As the only staircase leading to the upper floor of the building where the vehicle repair workshop was located was seriously damaged, the BD has been assessing the situation and will arrange emergency works to remove the damaged cockloft, shore up the damaged staircase and reinstate it.

     Meanwhile, Police will continue to work closely with the FSD to take statements from the witnesses and workers of the vehicle repair workshop.

     The TD reminds the taxi trade of the requirement to repair LPG fuel systems in vehicle repair workshops under the supervision of competent persons enlisted by the EMSD. At the same time, the Labour Department will step up enforcement against any unsafe work practices at vehicle repair workshops.

     The Wong Tai Sin District Office of the HAD has been liaising with relevant departments, including the Social Welfare Department, to offer timely assistance to the affected residents.

     The spokesman reiterated that anyone who has information to offer is urged to contact the investigating officers of District Crime Squad, Wong Tai Sin, at 2352 9477 or 2352 9456.

Ends/Monday, April 27, 2015
Issued at HKT 20:31


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