Durban - A panicked resident jumped from the second floor of a block of flats in Maud Mfusi (St George’s) Street on Monday to escape a blaze inside.
The fire, limited to a single room on the ground floor, was later extinguished.
Mpho Mlotshwa, who lives on the first floor, said he smelt burning, and on investigating saw smoke coming from a ground-floor room.
Mlotshwa and a security guard broke open the door and tried to douse the flames with buckets of water, “but the fire was too much for us”.
“We tried getting the emergency hosepipe to put out the fire, but it was too short and could not reach the room,” he said.
Building supervisor Sandile Msibi said: “The fire started in this room, and when it broke out people were panicking. People upstairs thought the building was on fire.”
Chris Botha, the Netcare 911 spokesman, said: “Two 16-year-old girls were transported to hospital, while three elderly were treated on the scene for smoke inhalation.”
He said one of the girls had jumped from the second floor and landed on a first-floor roof.
The fire department was not able to provide a response last night to queries about the cause of the fire, although the Daily News noticed corroded electrical cables strung up between rooms in the block.
Residents claimed it was the third fire in the block, but this could not be confirmed.
Hoosen Moolla sr, the manager at Durban renewal programme iTrump, said he could not comment immediately because he was waiting for a report from the fire department.