Arson suspected after two fires at Durban's Addington Hospital

Two fires flared up near fire exits in Durban's Addington Hospital on Thursday which may have been acts of arson, the KwaZulu-Natal department of health said on Friday.

"Both fires appear to have happened in a similar fashion, which raises a high suspicion of classifying them as related acts of sabotage," the department said in a statement.

Both fires were set near fire escape routes where piles of plastic bags filled with garbage were apparently put out for collection.

The first fire was on the seventh floor at around 07:30 on Thursday, and the second was on the 10th floor at around 14:30.

They were contained by staff at the hospital and there were no casualties. Normal hospital operations were apparently also not affected.

KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo visited the hospital afterward to assess what had happened and expressed shocked over the fires.

"There is something amiss here and a suspicion of an act of sabotage is not far-fetched. Both fires occurred on the fire escape routes in a similar fashion," said Dhlomo.

"A case of arson has been opened at Point Police Station and we want the perpetrators to be arrested for gambling with people's lives, and compromising patient safety." 

An update from police on the investigation was not immediately available.

Last Saturday there was an attempt to abduct newborn babies and their mothers at the hospital.

Two men gained access by wearing staff name tags, and pretending to be there to register newborn babies.

The sister in charge of the ward refused to release the mothers and their babies - and the men left.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.