Acrid smoke clouds parts of Hong Kong after ship on Victoria Harbor catches fire

Residents from Sham Shui Po to Kwai Chung said they could smell a toxic, acrid smell in the air after a ship burst into flames on Victoria Harbor in the late afternoon. Photos: Fire Services Dept. (left), Faceobok/Tsang Tsz Ming Douglas (right)
Residents from Sham Shui Po to Kwai Chung said they could smell a toxic, acrid smell in the air after a ship burst into flames on Victoria Harbor in the late afternoon. Photos: Fire Services Dept. (left), Faceobok/Tsang Tsz Ming Douglas (right)

Residents across parts of Kowloon and the New Territories were affected by clouds of intense, pungent smoke after a ship on Victoria Harbor caught fire late Wednesday afternoon.

The 120-meter boat, carrying around 2,000 tons of scrap metal, burst into flames just before 5:30 pm near Stonecutters Island. No crew members were injured.

As firefighters attempted to put out the fire, residents in districts including Sham Shui Po, Lai Chi Kok, Mei Foo and Tsuen Wan complained about the smog and acrid smell in the air.

According to information from the Environmental Protection Department, the average PM2.5 reading—an indicator of air pollution—in Sham Shui Po rose from 17.5 at 5 pm, before the fire began, to 166.7 at 10 pm.

The Fire Services Department raised the fire status to the third alarm level on a scale of one to five at around 11 pm. Authorities advised residents in the affected districts to close the windows.

Firefighters worked overnight to put out the blaze. It was eventually extinguished at 8:20 am Thursday, the South China Morning Post reported.

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