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Fire at China Emporium in the Durban CBD has affected nearby businesses as they are unable to operate normally

Businesses close to the China Emporium, which caught alight on Friday, in the Durban CBD say their trade was affected by the fire.

Firefighters put out a fire at the China Emporium in the Durban CBD yesterday. The fire started on Friday. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Jan 24, 2022


DURBAN - BUSINESSES close to the China Emporium, which caught alight on Friday, in the Durban CBD say their trade was affected by the fire.

The fire at the building on Dr Pixley KaSeme street started on Friday.

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Clothing store manager Berhane Girmiso said that when the fire started on Friday they had to close the shop, which is opposite the China Emporium, because of the smoke and the chaos.

He said business has been bad since Friday because of the road closures.

“Today (Sunday) I opened the shop at 8.30am, and it is now 11am there has not been any customer.

“I might as well just close the shop until the roads are open and the mall is not burning any more,” he said.

He also complained about the smoke and said it had affected him and his employees.

Mfundo Mdabe, the store manager of The Fish and Chips fast food restaurant, which is also opposite the China Emporium, said the fire had affected the business because few customers were coming in.

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“The people who are buying food are the people who lived in the mall. Besides that, business is bad,” he said. He added that the closure of the nearby roads had also affected trade.

EThekwini Fire Department regional commander Zibuse Ngcece said they were finally able to extinguish the fire yesterday, but the smoke would linger for some time. He added that putting out the fire had been challenging.

“When we got to the scene on Friday, we realised that the building was compromised.

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“We had to work from outside and locate the fire, and it was not easy to access,” he said.

He added that they had not gone into the building as they were waiting for a structural engineer to indicate if it was stable enough for them to enter.

The eThekwini Municipality issued a statement yesterday in which it urged the public to take precautions as the smoke may be harmful.

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“With smoke still emanating from the building, the public is urged to take precautions when in the area. Areas affected may vary depending on wind direction, and currently include Durban Central, Berea, Musgrave, Congela, Glenwood, Wilson’s Wharf and Maydon Wharf. It is estimated that the smoke may last a few days. Officials will be on site until the situation is resolved.”


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