SCMP Friday, March 9, 2001
Two hurt as fireball rips through shop
VICTORIA BUTTON and ANTOINE SO
Two men were injured - one seriously with 40 per cent burns - when a fireball tore through a hardware shop in a busy Central street yesterday in a suspected arson attack.
The explosion gutted the Wellington Street shop, caused traffic chaos and led to the evacuation of more than 100 people from offices. Two shop employees were reportedly splashed with corrosive acid by a man who then fled before two explosions ripped through the shop at about 4.20pm.
Police cordoned off the area as firefighters battled for 40 minutes to put out the blaze. A police spokesman said a 50-year-old former employee of the shop, who was sacked six months ago, was being sought. The shop owner, Lee Man-yiu, 43, was in a critical condition at Queen Mary Hospital and employee Chow Chun-keung, 50, was stable.