Tricky blaze in crowded boarding house

2014-07-10 00:00

A ROOM in an office block converted into an illegal boarding house in the city centre went up in flames yesterday because of a suspected electrical fault.

Msunduzi Fire Service investigator Rodney Trenam said that fortunately there were no fatalities as no one was in the building at the time of the fire.

However, the fire fighters struggled to get in as rooms were locked. They had to break down the ceiling where the fire started in order to bring it under control.

Trenam said the illegal conversion of office blocks into residential dwellings was causing huge problems as the buildings were not wired for heavy electrical usage. He said stoves, hot plates and other household devices draw a great deal of electrical current.

He said that, in addition, there was “tenant farming” going on in many of the buildings with far more people living in rooms than was safe. This in itself was a fire hazard.

According to Trenam, the room that was destroyed in the Drury Lane building had been divided into two, with four tenants on the one side and two on the other. Three to four other rooms in the building were similarly divided. He said the fire fighting team arrived in the nick of time, preventing the fire from spreading to the rest of the building.

During the melee surrounding the fire, it was not clear who the owners were. The residents were not there and were only expected back after work.

Trenam urged landlords that if they wanted to change the use of any building, they had to apply for permission from the municipality and follow the bylaws.

• nalini@witness.co.za

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.