Joburg Fire: Authorities Say Hijacked Building Was an Informal Settlement, Over 80 Shacks Found

Joburg Fire: Authorities Say Hijacked Building Was an Informal Settlement, Over 80 Shacks Found

  • Authorities have revealed more information about the devastating fire that engulfed a Johannesburg building
  • Johannesburg Emergency Management Services spokesperson Robert Mulaudzi said the building had over 80 shacks
  • South Africans are saddened by the fatalities and are blaming the government for the tragedy

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JOHANNESBURG - The apartment building that was engulfed in flames in the Johannesburg Central Business District (CBD) in the early hours of Thursday morning operated like an informal settlement.

Firefighters and healthcare professionals are deployed at the scene after fire at a five-story building in South Africa's Johannesburg city
At least 12 children were killed in the horrific Johannesburg fire. Images: Michele Spatari & Stringer/Anadolu Agency
Source: Getty Images

Firefighters find shacks inside Joburg hijacked building

Residents at a Marshalltown apartment building were awakened by devastating flames at around 1am on 31 August.

According to TimesLIVE, Johannesburg Emergency Management Services (EMS) and firefighters worked tirelessly to quell the flames and rescue people.

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EMS spokesperson Robert Mulaudzi says the building was being illegally occupied, and rescuers found at least 80 shacks inside the apartment building.

Authorities are still not sure what the cause of the fire was. Mulaudzi says there are three possible causes of the fire, such as illegal electricity connections or unattended candles.

Speaking to eNCA, Mulaudzi said since the building was essentially an informal settlement, there is a huge possibility that people are trapped in the 5-storey building.

At least 73 people have been confirmed dead, and 54 have been rushed to hospitals for treatment. Authorities indicated that 12 young children were among the casualties.

South Africans weigh in on the Joburg fire

@Aubrey24082500 said:

"I think municipality officials need to visit these overcrowded buildings to check safety measures, it's heartbreaking that many lives have been lost like that. These buildings are not safe."

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@musa_mansa said:

"Most of those buildings need to be demolished and rebuilt. Since they got hijacked, no maintenance has been done."

@Queen_Nandi said:

"The numbers are increasing*...☹️"

@terrencemgxamza said:

"JHB CBD is a tinderbox as more and more previously designated office buildings are converted to residential units. Some formal, some informally so. And I suspect EMS is inadequately prepared for as there is no addition of personnel and fit for purpose high rise fire apparatus."

Johannesburg street explosion cause still unclear

Briefly News previously reported that the Johannesburg CBD descended into chaos when a section of Lillian Ngoyi Street (also called Bree Street) split into two after an explosion on Wednesday, 19 July.

While initial reports indicated that a gas line caused the explosion, authorities are not sure about the true root of the disaster.

Egoli Gas, which manages the municipal gas lines in the city, released a statement claiming that it cannot be sure that a gas line caused the explosion.

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Source: Briefly News

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