'Chaos' during fire at Polokwane court

2012-10-19 14:42
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Polokwane court fire

The Polokwane Magistrate's Court caught fire forcing a quick evacuation. Eyewitnesses estimate 80% of the building has been leveled by the flames. See the pictures.

Polokwane - A fire broke out at the Polokwane Magistrate's Court on Friday, Limpopo police said.

Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi confirmed the fire, but could not provide further details.

"We can't comment now because a docket still has to be opened."

No injuries

Justice department spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said no injuries were reported.

"The fire is currently under control, no injuries were reported, and extent of damage is still to be determined," he said in a statement.

"We hope that dispensing of justice will not severely be affected by this unfortunate event."

Beeld website reported that several awaiting trial prisoners were confined inside the building when the fire started.

By 11:00 the building was evacuated, while the fire was still raging.

Beeld journalist Marietie Louw-Carstens reported that the upper part of the court house had burnt down.

Louw-Carstens was covering a lawsuit in the building when it caught fire.

'Chaos'

"The next moment, people just started screaming and running. It was chaos."

Three fire trucks and six ambulances were on the scene.

Downtown Polokwane was cordoned-off due to the fire.

It was not yet clear what caused the fire, but it seemed as if it originated in the magistrate's offices, it was reported.

Several people were treated for smoke inhalation at the scene.

Expelled ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema appeared at the court on September 26 on a charge of money-laundering. He was released on bail and expected to return on November 30.

- Are you there? Send us your eyewitness accounts and photos.
- SAPA

Read more on:    polokwane  |  fires
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