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DA concerned that fire at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital is the third fire at Gauteng public hospitals this year

The Gauteng Department of Health confirmed on Wednesday that there was a blaze at the hospital that started at the open space near the Covid-19 tents at the hospital. Picture: Supplied.

The Gauteng Department of Health confirmed on Wednesday that there was a blaze at the hospital that started at the open space near the Covid-19 tents at the hospital. Picture: Supplied.

Published Jul 5, 2022

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Johannesburg - The Democratic Alliance (DA) has raised concerns that the fire at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital in Soweto on Wednesday is the first fire to occur at Gauteng public hospitals in 2022 and the eighth fire in seven years.

The Gauteng Department of Health confirmed on Wednesday that there was a blaze at the hospital that started at the open space near the Covid-19 tents at the hospital.

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“Due to strong winds, the fire spread to the laundry site and damaged part of the linen awaiting condemnation (disposal) process. The City of Joburg Fire services from Dobsonville and Jabulani arrived on time before the fire could spread to the usable linen area and the building,” said the department spokesperson Kwara Kekana. She added that there were no casualties due to the fire.

This fire followed a fire at temporary structures at the Steve Biko Hospital on May 30 and another fire at this hospital on June 12 when there was a blaze in a linen closet in a medical ward.

The DA’s Jack Bloom said all three fires this year were put out speedily but added that it could have been far worse.

The other hospital fires in the last seven years include the fire that caused severe damage at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital in April last year, a fire that destroyed a store room at the Carletonville Hospital in February last year, a fire that broke out at an administration block at Bheki Mlangeni Hospital in May 2019, dental rooms at the Tambo Memorial Hospital were destroyed by fire in July 2016, and R7 million of medical supplies were destroyed by a fire in a store room at the Tambo Memorial Hospital in May 2015.

“Furthermore, there was the fire that started at the Gauteng Health Department’s head office at the Bank of Lisbon building in September 2018, which burnt down the entire building and cost the lives of three firefighters,” said Bloom.

“We still do not have a report on the Bank of Lisbon building fire, nor do we know the cause of the devastating fire at the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital.”

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Bloom added that slow investigations and non-release of reports fuel suspicions of a cover-up to protect negligent officials and politicians.

“The DA will continue to press for the release of fire investigation reports and for better fire prevention at our hospitals so that the lives of patients and staff are not at risk,” Bloom said.

The Star

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Department of Health

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