Three bodies reportedly found following Verulam business fire

Verulam business situated in Missionlands area gutted by a fire. Picture: Reaction Unit South Africa(Rusa)

Verulam business situated in Missionlands area gutted by a fire. Picture: Reaction Unit South Africa(Rusa)

Published Mar 3, 2024

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KwaZulu-Natal provincial police says four employees who were inside a business in Verulam when it was razed by a fire in the early hours of Saturday morning cannot be found.

According to Reaction Unit South Africa (Rusa), three bodies were found.

Provincial police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Nqobile Gwala, said it was alleged that on March 2, 2024 just after midnight, a fire broke out at a business premises in the Missionlands area.

Gwala said the entire building was destroyed by fire.

“The four employees who were inside cannot be found. Police officers from the SAPS Search and Rescue Unit together with other role players assessed the situation and it was established that it was unsafe to enter the building and search for the possible victims,” she said.

According to Gwala, the families of the victims, who were also at the scene, were informed of the “precarious” situation.

“An inquiry has been opened at Verulam SAPS. Investigations are ongoing,” she said.

Verulam business situated in Missionlands area gutted by a fire. Picture: Reaction Unit South Africa(Rusa)

Rusa spokesperson Prem Balram said the family and friends of the four men who failed to return home, arrived at their place of employment in search of them.

Balram said Rusa received a call for assistance after the search party peered through a window of the gutted building and noticed what appeared to be skeletal remains.

“Reaction Officers and Rusa paramedics were immediately dispatched and on arrival confirmed the discovery was human remains,” he said.

He said eThekwini Fire and Rescue Services arrived shortly thereafter and located two more bodies. “One person is still unaccounted for.”

Balram said reports from the scene indicated that nine foreign nationals were working the night shift at the furniture manufacturing business when the fire broke out at approximately 11.30pm.

Verulam business gutted by a fire.

He said five employees allegedly jumped out of windows from the upper level of the building and escaped with minor injuries.

The Mercury