Picture: for illustration purposes

Grim Tales From Survivors of Johannesburg's Most Devastating Fire

Published September 21, 2023
8 months ago

A devastating fire in Johannesburg, the bustling city of South Africa, took 74 lives and left 52 people injured in the early hours of Thursday. Emergency Management Services spokesman, Robert Mulaudzi confirmed the casualties amidst the somber chaos that reminds the city of its deadliest fire so far.

The five-story building was dilapidated and believed to be occupied illegally by approximately 200 people, with a significant portion of them being foreigners. The survivors speak of the terrors they encountered as they attempted to escape the deadly blaze.

Nobuhle Zwane, a resident who managed to escape along with her two children – aged 13 and almost 3, described the harrowing ordeal. “It was so difficult for us to get out, others had blocked the corridors with beds, but I managed to get out with my kids," she recalled.

Certain areas of the building were blocked completely, causing a large number of bodies to pile up near a closed security gate, leaving several residents trapped inside the building engulfed by flames.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Meanwhile, a resident Mthokozi Xaba suggested that a gas explosion could have sparked the fire, narrating that he heard a loud blast from his ground floor apartment.

South African officials have warned that the death toll could rise even further as search and recovery operations continue in the building. The devastating incident has been marked as the deadliest fire incident in recent South African history, and one of the worst recorded globally.

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