Fire guts block of flats in Church Street

2013-08-28 00:00

HUNDREDS of residents had to scramble for safety when a block of flats in the city centre went up in flames yesterday evening.

The fire started around 5.30 pm on the third floor of the three-storey Rosedale Mansions in lower Church Street. It caused extensive damage to the flats on the third floor and partial damage to the second floor.

Firefighters managed to prevent the flames from spreading to the ground-floor shops. The Witness understands that there were no injuries. Two people were treated for smoke inhalation.

The Msunduzi fire department deployed all its available resources to the raging inferno. The thick smoke could be seen from all over the city at dusk. Both Church and Pietermaritz streets were crowded with onlookers as the fire broke the windows of the building.

Witnesses at the scene said the fire had started at the back of the flats on the third floor. “There are a lot of unprofessional electrical connections here and I suspect they started the fire,” said one.

Emergency officials struggled to control the hundreds of onlookers. Explosions, believed to have been electrical appliances blowing up, were heard.

Essack Khan, a senior division officer at the Msunduzi fire department, said although this was not the biggest fire they have fought, “It was a big fire and all available resources had been brought in”.

Khan said they would have been able to save the majority of the flats had they not run into gridlock traffic.

Police spokesperson Joey Jeevan said a team of experts will be deployed to investigate the fire.

“It is believed it may have been started by an electrical fault,” he said.

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