City fire leaves two dead

2009-10-07 14:04

FOR more than four hours, the Johannesburg Emergency Service (JEMS)

battled to put out a raging fire in a building in the Johannesburg CBD.

Pre-school kids, college students and residents of the building

situated between the corners of Bree and Rissik streets were whisked away by

onlookers and emergency personnel who were stretched to the limit by the

uncontrollable fire.

Two women aged between 20 and 25 years were declared dead on the

scene and eight others were seriously injured. EMS could not say what caused the


A lecturer at the Eagle College who only identified herself as

Berenice (30) had gone out to get lunch and about 30 minutes later when she

returned was welcomed by smoke billowing from the building.

Oblivious to the fact that her life could have been in danger, the

only thing on her mind was the R1 000 in her bag that she had left in the


“My things, my money is in there,” she kept on saying while

struggling to hold back her tears.

It was only when her principal phoned to her tell her that they

were safe but were at the Charlotte Maxeke hospital, where some students were

taken for medical attention, did she realise how lucky she was to be


Percy Marokane, spokesperson for EMS could not confirm what how the

fire started but suspected that it could have been started by candles that were

used by students from the college to light up the staircase.

“We understand that the was no electricity and students had put

some candles along the staircase but we cannot confirm that entirely,” said


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