south africa johannesburg building fire kills 52, injures 43

South Africa: Johannesburg building fire kills 52, injures 43

A fire accident in a multi-storey building in Johannesburg, South Africa’s biggest city and the capital of Gauteng province, on Thursday morning led to the killing of at least 52 people, including a toddler.

Emergency Management Services of Johannesburg said that Johannesburg building fire also injured 43 people. Robert Mulaudzi, Spokesperson of the City of Johannesburg Emergency Management Services, said that the death toll may increase further. 

Videos from the scene were posted on social media, showing huge orange flames engulfing the building. Many people tried to leave the building to save their lives. It was not immediately clear what caused the blaze at the building. 

Robert Mulaudzi said that a search and recovery operation was underway to find people trapped inside the building. He reportedly said, “There are a lot of informal structures inside the building. There is a lot of debris which we have to remove.”

He revealed that the authorities treated many injured people. Some people who survived with the injuries in the fire accident were also transported to health care facilities. They are currently getting treated at a hospital in Johannesburg. 

In a series of tweets on X, formerly known as Twitter, Robert Mulaudzi talked about the tragic incident. He said that the firefighters extinguished the fire, however, white smoke could be seen out of the blackened building.

Television footage showed authorities, police, firefighters, fire trucks, medical professionals and ambulances outside the building. They were helping injured people.

Similar incidents

Earlier this month, a building in Yeoville, an inner city neighbourhood of Johannesburg, caught fire that razed the top floor of the three-storey building. People said that load shedding caused the spark. Subsequently, the fire spread to the neighbouring flats. A resident told the media, “The people who live here are artists, so you can imagine the kind of stuff people lost.”In June, another incident took place in South Africa. Two children, aged 5 and 7, were killed in a fire in Hillbrow, an inner city residential neighbourhood of Johannesburg. Robert Mulaudzi reportedly said that the fire broke out at the Florence Nightingale Building. The children were found dead at the building. Robert Mulaudzi said that their bodies had been “burnt beyond recognition.” According to reports, Johannesburg Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda also visited the building to meet injured people. The City’s disaster management and social development departments also arrived at the scene to provide aid to injured people.