Eighteen people died and three were hospitalised after a fire broke out at an old age home in Nigel, Gauteng.
“It was very horrific, very tragic,” said Netcare 911 spokesman Chris Botha.
A total of 84 people were rescued in the fire that broke out at the Pieter Wessels old age home around 9pm yesterday.
Of those, one person was taken to hospital in a critical condition with 40 percent burn wounds, while two others had sustained serious injuries.
The remaining 81 people were treated on the scene.
“Many had suffered from smoke inhalation,” said Botha.
Some of those rescued were taken to other old age homes.
Police spokesman Warrant Officer Tommy Tomlinson said churches in Nigel had taken in some of the people.
He said forensic investigators were on the scene to try to find the cause of the fire.
“It is quite chaotic,” said Tomlinson.
After the blaze was extinguished, firemen searched the building and found the bodies of 17 people.
An eighteenth person died of a suspected heart attack after the fire.