Two tenants died in an arson attack that burned down five subdivided squatter huts in Tin Shui Wai. A suspect was arrested. Photo: Google Maps

A man was arrested for suspected arson after a fire in Hong Kong’s Tin Shui Wai district claimed two lives. It was reported that the unemployed suspect, a 37-year-old Hong Kong identity card holder of Nepalese origin, set a shack on fire at around 1am on Monday after he was banished from the premises for repeated rent arrears.

The rent was said to be some HK$3,000 per month.

The fire soon spread to four neighboring subdivided rooms in squatter huts in the area, each around 100 square feet (9.3 square meters) in size, and it took more than 50 firefighters an hour to extinguish the blaze.

A man and a woman, believed to be unrelated to the suspect, were found dead in one of the rooms, Headline Daily reported. Police suspect the two victims had been asleep when the fire broke out and were unable to escape.

Other tenants, including a Filipino couple, several Indonesians and South Asians, were among the 40 villagers evacuated.

The suspect had allegedly harassed tenants prior to the arson attack, and was also reportedly involved in a separate assault case and had been admitted to a local public hospital. It is believed that he left the hospital on Sunday evening and returned there early the next morning after setting the fire.

He was arrested in the hospital 10 hours after the fire, according to Oriental Daily News.

A resident from Spain who lives not far from the site of the fire managed to escape after being alerted by her dog barking.

A police investigation is under way.