Woman dies after climbing into temple furnace, 3 firefighters injured in rescue attempt

The joss paper furnace at Yuen Yuen Institute is around 2.5 meters deep and has a 1-meter-tall safety barrier around it. Screenshot: Apple Daily

A woman has succumbed to her injuries after jumping into a enormous furnace at a Tsuen Wan temple, local media reports.

The 59-year-old woman, surnamed Chan, was declared dead at 6:16am today, Apple Daily reports. Chan Hoi-kong, assistant commander of the Tsuen Wan police district, told reporters that Chan is believed to have committed suicide.

The woman climbed into the joss paper furnace at Yuen Yuen Institute at around 10am on Sunday. Four firefighters leaped into the furnace, which was around 600 degrees Celsius, and pulled Chan out from the burning ash within three minutes.

Three of the firefighters sustained burns and were hospitalized. Two were discharged later that day, while the third — who suffered second-degree burns to seven percent of his legs — is being treated at Kwong Wah Hospital, SCMP reports.

Chan was rushed to Princess Margaret Hospital in a comatose state with burns to roughly 50 percent of her body, but died from her injuries early this morning. Chan’s family told police that they believed the 59-year-old retiree had been suffering from depression in recent years.

If you are experiencing depression or suicidal thoughts, please call the Samaritans’ 24-hour hotline at 2896 0000 for help.

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