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More than 150 firefighters fought an eight-hour battle against a blaze at a Hong Kong mansion said to be owned by former superstar actress Brigitte Lin Ching-hsia on Friday.
Emergency personnel were called to the palatial home built on a hill on Anderson Road in the Sau Mau Ping district of Kowloon just after 12.30am after a fire was reported in one of the bathrooms.
A total of 18 people, including domestic staff and security guards, were evacuated from the building before the arrival of firefighters and police officers.
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Lin, a screen goddess of the 1970s to the 1990s, and her family were understood not to be in the house, which features an outdoor swimming pool and a rooftop tennis court.
It is also said to be equipped with a private cinema, a gym, a library and a dance studio.
The fire was upgraded to a third-alarm blaze at 1.43am. Fires in the city are rated on a scale of one to five according to their seriousness.
The Fire Services Department advised the public affected by “the smoke and an unusual odour carried by the wind” to close their doors and windows and to stay calm as its personnel fought the blaze.
The department said 37 fire engines and four ambulances were sent to the scene and that a total of 160 emergency services personnel were deployed.
Firefighters battled the blaze with four water jets and brought it under control at 5.02am. The blaze was reported to be extinguished by 8.40am and no injuries were reported.
Explaining why it was upgraded to a third-alarm blaze, Kowloon Central divisional fire department commander Chan Fu-shan said: “It covered a very large area. The fire was so fierce and the heat inside the house was too intense.”
He said the fire covered an area of 30 metres by 30 metres.
Chan said the mansion’s layout, furniture and decorations helped the fire to spread and generate intense heat and thick smoke, which hindered firefighters’ efforts.
He explained firefighters also had to run out extra hosepipes to reach the water supply because the house was on a hill.
A drone equipped with a thermal detection camera was used for aerial surveillance of the scene and to trace the source of the fire and pinpoint the affected area, Chan said, adding that the department had launched an investigation into the cause of the blaze.
Lin wowed fans of Chinese-language cinema over three decades with her appearances in a wide range of roles before she retired from the silver screen.
She has since led a relatively quiet life with her husband, Hong Kong billionaire Michael Ying Lee-yuen, two daughters Eileen Ying and Melani Ying Yin-oi, and stepdaughter Claudine.
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