South Africa 6.9.2018 07:31 pm

Fire at Gauteng Health building in Joburg CBD extinguished

Firefighters continue to battle the fire in the Department of Health building in the Johannesburg CBD for the second day, 6 September 2018.  Picture: Neil McCartney

Firefighters continue to battle the fire in the Department of Health building in the Johannesburg CBD for the second day, 6 September 2018. Picture: Neil McCartney

A general evacuation order had been instituted for the residents of the nearby Waldorf Building, a student accommodation, as a precaution.

The fire that burned for more than 24 hours and claimed the lives of three firefighters has been extinguished, Joburg MMC for Public Safety Michael Sun has announced.

This after reinforcements arrived to assist the City of Joburg emergency management services to put out the fire at a government building in the inner city.

The top floor of the 23-storey of the Bank of Lisbon building, which houses the department of health, human settlements and cooperative governance, caught fire on Wednesday morning. The fire still raged throughout today, 24 hours later, and had spread to other parts of the building down to the 16th floor.

Member of mayoral committee for public safety, Micheal Sun, kept on updating the public on his social media accounts about the latest operational feedback while he was visiting the scene and meeting various stakeholders with Mayor Herman Mashaba.

Earlier in the day,  Mashaba said the City had requested reinforcement firefighters from the City of Ekurhuleni, the City of Tshwane and the OR Tambo International Airport to help deal with the fire.

At around 4pm, Sun said that the South African National Defence Force had arrived with resources, fire engines, ambulances, and more firefighters in support of the City’s efforts to combat the fire.

“As City of Joburg EMS continues to fight the fire, we are [also] joined by Netcare911 and ER24 emergency medical services as a medical reserve. Additionally the South African Police Service and Gauteng Forensics is ready to move in as soon as building is safe, to begin investigations.”

“There is significant progress, but precautionary actions will continue to be effected.”

Sun said that a general evacuation order had been instituted for the residents of the nearby Waldorf Building, a student accommodation, as a precaution. The City Library Gardens has been set up as the assembly point for transportation to temporary accommodation.

“Note that a disaster has not been declared in accordance with the Disaster Management Act. The current support received from our neighboring metros are in line with existing mutual assistance agreements,” he said.

Two firefighters died while trying to battle the blaze while one fell to his death. At least 13 officials from the provincial department of health were hospitalised and were treated for smoke inhalation, but have since been discharged. At this point, the cause of the fire is still unknown

African News Agency (ANA)

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