The fire started at around 1pm at the Yue Xiu Cold Storage and Warehousing building in Tung Yuen Street.
Firefighters said they found that a large amount of items, including polystyrene, had caught fire in a corner of the basement in the building.
They rescued two unconscious workers from the basement – one of whom later died in hospital – and another from a staircase. Other workers had left the scene safely.
The Fire Services Department said it deployed 73 firefighters and 14 ambulance personnel in the operation, and put out the fire at around 3:30pm.
Station commander Wong Ping-kuen said they were still looking into the cause of the fire.
“We are now still investigating the fire, because there was so much foam and insulating material inside the basement. When [these are] involved in a fire, there will be many toxic gases emitting from the burning material. But for the time being, we cannot ascertain what kind of toxic material was involved.”
A witness said a large amount of smoke with a pungent smell had billowed out of the building at the time of the blaze, but no explosions were heard.
“I saw a worker shouting for help on the fifth floor. He had climbed out to the scaffolding. A fire truck then quickly elevated its aerial ladder and rescued him. He’s an old man. We gave him a chair to sit down on and some water to drink when he came down,” the witness said.
The Labour Department said it was investigating what it described as a fatal work accident.
Last updated: 2021-11-22 HKT 18:45