Two people died and four were injured when a downtown Johannesburg building they were living in caught alight on Sunday morning.
It is understood that one woman has been arrested in connection with the burning of the building. This was confirmed by the city’s municipal manager.
According to witnesses on the scene, the fire broke out in the two-storey building on the corner of Commissioner and Nugget Streets in the central business district (CBD).
Ward councillor in the area, Masindi Mmbengwa, said the fire started around 4am.
Mmbengwa said he was notified by one of the ward committee members, who lives next to the building, and rushed to the scene immediately calling the emergency services.
The councillor appealed to residents to stop finding accommodation in abandoned buildings as they were not safe.
“Our people can’t continue living in such places, as they have the potential of causing a disaster. One will never know when these buildings will catch fire,” Mmbengwa added.
Meanwhile, the city’s Emergency Services spokesperson Nana Radebe-Kgiba said on arrival at the scene, they found that two people had jumped from the second floor, and three people were rescued from the balcony.
“The fire operation continues at the two-storey building that was engulfed with flames earlier this morning. Four people have been transported to health-care facilities for further medical care.
“The fire spread very quickly, affecting different levels of the building because of the combustible materials used,” Kgiba said.
She further said that the emergency services would conduct a preliminary investigation to determine the cause of the fire after firefighting operations were completed.
The city is becoming notorious for its buildings catching alight. Late last year, more than 70 people died when the hijacked Usindiso Building went up in flames.
The building was located on the corner of Albert and Delvers in Marshalltown. The incident was described as one of the worst tragedies to have taken place in Gauteng’s economic hub.
In an attempt to halt these tragic deaths, MMC for Environment and Infrastructure Services Jack Sekwaila led the City Power Revenue Protection team in an operation to disconnect electricity to several hijacking buildings.