A fire broke out in a public housing estate apartment in Ma On Shan, the New Territories after a man used a charcoal burner to commit suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning on Wednesday.

At 5am, firefighters received a report that smoke was pouring from an apartment on the 8th floor of Heng Fung House at Heng On Estate, Apple Daily reported.

After firefighters put out the fire in 30 minutes, they discovered a 27-year-old man in an unconscious state in a bedroom inside the apartment. They also found a bowl of burnt charcoal and a suicide note. The victim was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

It was understood that the man had recently broken up with his girlfriend.

Five cats were found dead in the same room.

The deceased man, surnamed Chan, lived with six family members and five cats in the 37-square-meter apartment. The family members, who were all sleeping when the fire broke out, managed to escape.

About 350 residents were evacuated to an open area near the apartment tower, and two men, aged 68 and 74, who reported feeling unwell, were sent to hospital for medical treatment.

The Samaritans run a 24-hour multilingual suicide prevention hotline +852 2896 0000 or emails can be sent to jo@samaritans.org.hk.