The fire at the Bank of Lisbon building which claimed the lives of three firefighters. File photo: ANA

The two firefighters who spent more than two months in hospital after a deadly Joburg fire were in high spirits on Monday morning as they were discharged from the hospital.

Moleko Bereng and Livhuwani Maumela said they were looking forward to going home and spending time with their families while focusing on recovering fully.

“I miss being in my yard with my wife and children and look forward to spending time with them in our home,” said Bereng whose left hand was badly injured during the fire.

The two were among dozens of firefighters who were dispatched to the Bank of Lisbon building in the Joburg CBD on September 5 after the fire broke out.

The building which was later found to be only 21% compliant with the health and safety standards, housed three government departments -  human settlements, health as well as cooperative governance and traditional affairs.

Firefighters Simphiwe Moropane, 28, Khathutshelo Muedi, 37, and Mduduzi Ndlovu, 40, lost their lives as they battled the blaze that raged on for two days.

Maumela, whose hands were badly burnt in the fire, said he still had flashbacks.

“All I want is to see where our friends and colleagues were buried. We never got to go to the memorial service or attend the funeral. I have to stay strong for my family,” Maumela said. 

Joburg Emergency Services (EMS) spokesperson Nana Radebe said Maumela and Bereng had undergone six operations on their badly injured hands.

"They can use their hands now although they are not fully functional. They still have to undergo intensive physiotherapy and only then will they be able to get back to work in full force," Radebe said.


The Star