This is awful - UJ student on auditorium fire

2016-05-16 12:11
Police inspect the scene of the fire at the University of Johannesburg's Kingsway campus. (Wim Pretorius, News24)

Police inspect the scene of the fire at the University of Johannesburg's Kingsway campus. (Wim Pretorius, News24)

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WATCH: Police, fire staff probe cause of UJ fire

2016-05-16 11:02

What prompted a fire that razed the interior of the Standard Bank Auditorium at the University of Johannesburg is under investigation.WATCH

Johannesburg - Arson is suspected of the being the cause of a blaze that saw the University of Johannesburg's Sanlam Auditorium going up in flames in the early hours of Monday morning.

There was a strong burning smell in the air as members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) combed the scene, searching for clues as to what had caused the fire.

Warrant Officer Gordon Billing told News24 that no arrests had been made so far and that the scene was yet to be investigated by arson inspectors.

"So far, there are no witnesses and no suspects," Billing said.

He said that reports of a fire were received around 02:00.

Completely destroyed

Billing said that the auditorium, a 1 050-seat venue where graduation ceremonies are usually held, was completely destroyed by the fire.

Speculation on Twitter suggested that the fire was started by a petrol bomb.

Dinster Mcube, who has worked at the university since 1983, told News24 that he spent a lot of time at the auditorium, where he helped the choir, and in the computer lab.

"A lot of memories are gone now. My stuff [was] still in the office and I fear everything might be burnt."

According to Mcube, the seats in the auditorium were brand new, having only been replaced in October last year.

Thando Malindi, who is studying BA Humanities at the university, said he couldn't understand why someone would do this.

"It's shocking. To destroy the place just like that is awful," Malindi told News24.

Above the auditorium is a computer laboratory where some students were supposed to write tests on Monday, but these had to be postponed as some of the equipment was also destroyed.

Read more on:    university of johannesburg  |  johannesburg  |  crime  |  fires

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