Businesses near Durban’s fire-ravaged China Emporium evacuated

Picture: Khaya Ngwenya/African News Agency (ANA)

Picture: Khaya Ngwenya/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jan 28, 2022


Durban - Businesses situated near Durban's China Emporium have been evacuated as a safety precaution, eThekwini Municipality said on Friday.

The city's head of communication, Lindiwe Khuzwayo, said they will continue to monitor the situation at China Emporium to ensure the safety of the public after a fire gutted the building.

She said the building has been condemned following assessments by structural engineers appointed by the building owners at the request of eThekwini Municipality.

"Businesses in the precinct have been evacuated while some road lanes remain closed as the structural integrity of the building is believed to be compromised.

“The lane closures have resulted in high traffic volumes on Brook Street and Dr Pixley ka Seme Street near the building," Khuzwayo said.

Motorists are urged to be patient when driving in the vicinity.

Three lanes on Anton Lembede Street remain open as advised by structural engineers.

The city’s Fire and Emergency Services will continue to maintain a presence near the building as a safety precaution.

The public is urged to avoid the vicinity of the building if possible and use alternative routes.

The public will be informed if there are further developments.

On Thursday, IOL reported that the building is expected to be demolished.

According to eThekwini Fire Department Divisional Commander Nkulumo Dube, a meeting was convened between city structural engineers and insurance assessors to decide on the way forward.

He added that it was decided that the structure would be demolished.

“Everyone, including the owners, have been informed that no one is allowed to enter the building,” he said.

Last week, a fire broke out at the premises. At least 15 people were rescued from the building. No injuries were reported.


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City of Ethekwini