Broken fire hydrant hampered fight against Braampark blaze

2017-04-19 14:58
Braampark fire (Screengrab)

Braampark fire (Screengrab)

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WATCH: Braamfontein building catches fire

2017-04-18 15:09

A fire has broken out inside one of the buildings inside the Braam Park office park in central Johannesburg. Watch more here.WATCH

Johannesburg - Attempts to extinguish a fire which broke out in a Braamfontein building on Tuesday were hampered by a dysfunctional fire hydrant.

The fire broke out just before 13:00 in the Braampark office park, which houses FNB, in Hoofd Street in the Johannesburg city centre, Netwerk24 reported.

Johannesburg rescue services spokesperson Synock Matabakho said the fire brigade was faced with a challenge when no water came from the single hydrant at the office park.

"We had to get water from the street."

Matabakho said it also didn't make sense that such a large building had just one fire hydrant.

Evacuation

There were about a thousand workers in the building when the fire broke out.

Ndivhuwo Mugwedi, who works in a nearby building, said he called a security guard when he saw smoke.

"I saw contractors. who had been working on the roof, running away."

Zanele Ngumbela, 28, said she'd been having lunch nearby when she saw what at first looked like dust on the roof.

"The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire..." she sang, tongue in cheek. She said it was the first time that she'd seen such a huge fire.

Elphas Ramawela, one of the contractors, said he and about 15 colleagues had been on the roof replacing broken tiles when the fire started on the right side of the building. He suspects it was caused by a short circuit.

Investigation 

Gauteng police spokesperson Lieutenant Kay Makhubela said three of the building's four floors were damaged in the fire.

"There were workers on the top storey when the fire broke out. The building was evacuated immediately. The ground floor wasn't damaged because they could extinguish the fire in time."

Matabakho said there were no serious injuries reported. One woman was hospitalised for smoke inhalation.

Police are investigating a possible case of arson.

The cause of the fire, and why the hydrant wasn't working, would be investigated.

FNB's building manager, who didn't want to give his name, referred queries to the bank's head office.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  fires

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