Five people were sent to hospital after a fire broke out in a public housing apartment in Tung Chung on Lantau Island on Thursday.

At 3am, the fire services department received a report of a blaze on the 15th floor of Yuet Yat House of Yat Tung Estate, news website HK01.com reported.

Firefighters arrived and after evacuating 250 residents to open ground, took 30 minutes to put out the fire.

A 75-year-old woman who felt unwell from inhaling smoke was sent to the North Lantau Hospital and four others went to hospital by themselves for medical treatment.

After an initial investigation, it was believed that the fire was caused by someone throwing a lit cigarette out of a window on the upper floors, which set fire to clothes hanging near the flat of a family of four, which was totally destroyed.

A 20-year-old resident surnamed Leung who lives on the 17th floor said that when he heard the fire alarm, he found heavy smoke had filled the corridor. He recalled what he had learnt in primary school and remembered to take a mobile phone, door keys and a wet towel when escaping.