February 24, 2024

At least 74 confirmed dead after fire tears through building

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At least 74 people have died and dozens more were injured after a fire tore through a five-story building in central Johannesburg that had been turned into informal housing.

Authorities said they have moved through the building floor by floor, searching for survivors and pulling out charred bodies and laying them on the streets. At least 12 children were among those killed, city officials said at a news conference on Thursday afternoon.

In addition to the dead, more than 50 other people were injured, according to Robert Mulaudzi, a spokesperson for the city’s emergency services.

Rescue workers covered bodies in blankets and sheets outside the building. However, rescue workers covered bodies in blankets and sheets outside the building.

Wiseman Mpepa, who survived the fire, told CNN he woke up to people screaming. After seeing the fire blocking the building’s exit, he broke his window but struggled to climb through.

Mpepa said he tried to tell other people in the building to go through a gate to exit the building, but the gate was shut. “They closed the gate,” he told CNN on the ground. “After that, I had no plan. I just sat (in my room).”

However, videos taken moments after the fire broke out show huge orange flames engulfing the lower floor of a building and scores of people standing outside.

Photos from Thursday morning showed onlookers crowding around burned-out and cordoned-off areas, broken glass windows, and clothes strewn around the building.

In conclusion, the cause of the blaze remains unclear, but authorities at the scene gave no indication it was deliberate. The fire broke out around 1:30 a.m. local time, when many people inside the building were asleep. South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa called it a “tragedy.”

written by @enock katamba

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