A man’s charred body was found in a public housing flat in Hong Kong after a fire ripped through the flat on Wednesday.

At least two people felt unwell after inhaling

smoke and one of them – an 83-year-old man – was taken to Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital in Chai Wan for treatment.

More than 170 people fled Yiu Fook House on the Yiu Tung Estate in Shau Kei Wan when the blaze broke out in a 22nd-floor flat at 9.15am.

An air-conditioner caught fire and fell from the burning flat as the window frames buckled under the heat.

Eight fire engines and three ambulances were sent to the scene and about 50 firefighters were deployed. Two teams were sent in with breathing apparatus to evacuate residents and the fire was extinguished at 9.50am.

Acting Hong Kong Island East divisional commander Cheung Tak-wah said firemen had to break into the burning flat to fight the blaze.

“A charred body was found in the bedroom of the flat,” he said.

Cheung said the flat was badly damaged and smoke-blackened.

A police spokeswoman said the identity of the victim had not been established.

The Fire Services Department has set up a special unit to investigate the cause of the fatal blaze.

At about 1pm, neither police nor the fire department could tell whether the cause of the blaze was suspicious or not.

It was Hong Kong’s third fatal fire in three weeks. On January 30, the charred bodies of a man in his 50s and a woman in her 40s were discovered by firefighters who forced their way into a smoke-filled flat in the private Kingswood Villas in Tin Shui Wai.

On February 6, an elderly woman and her foreign domestic helper died in a blaze in a village house in Shek Kong.

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