Firefighters battled to put down the fire because the building allegedly does not comply with the Emergency Services by-laws

Johannesburg - Firefighters were battling to put down the fire that has been raging for over 24 hours because the building does not comply with the Emergency Services by-laws.

Acting chief of the Joburg Emergency Services, Arthur Mqwa, revealed this on Thursday morning while visiting eight injured firefighters at Milpark Hospital where they are being treated. Mqwa was accompanying City of Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba.

Three firefighters died fighting the blaze on Wednesday - two from smoke inhalation and the other after slipping out the window.

"The building has two emergency routes which were supposed to assist us as firefighters but when we arrived there those doors were not opened. It was difficult for the firefighters to extinguish the fire.”

Mqwa added that there were papers found in the ducts of the building which caused the fire to spread from the 23rd floor to the 16th floor.

He said they were getting assistance from firefighters from the City of Tshwane and other areas to assist.

Mashaba confirmed four fighters had smoke inhalation while two suffered burn wounds. Four of them were expected to be discharged on Friday.

The Star