Firefighters who died in Joburg building blaze to be honoured at memorial service

A fire at the Bank of Lisbon building in Johannesburg. (Canny Maphanga, News24)
A fire at the Bank of Lisbon building in Johannesburg. (Canny Maphanga, News24)

A memorial service for three firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty during the blaze at the Bank of Lisbon building in Johannesburg last week, is expected to be held at Ellis Park on Wednesday.

The laying of wreaths is also expected to take place at the building where the tragedy happened.

Twenty-eight-year-old Simphiwe Moropane is believed to be the first firefighter to have died in the tragedy, after he slipped and fell from the 23rd floor of the building. He had run out of oxygen and had gone to the ledge to try to get air it was said.

The other two firefighters, 40-year-old Mduduzi Ndlovu and 37-year-old Kathutshelo Muedi are believed to have died from lack of oxygen after they became trapped in the building.

READ: 'He told me he was going to die' – fiancé of firefighter killed in JHB blaze

City of Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba and Member of the Mayoral Committee for Safety Michael Sun are among those expected to attend the service. 

"Our firefighters in Johannesburg regularly have to face life-threatening situations and continue to demonstrate their bravery in their efforts to keep our residents safe," the City said. 

The Democratic Municipal and Allied Workers Union of South Africa (Demawusa) has also expressed its deepest condolences to the family, colleagues and friends of the firefighters and has encouraged the public to show support by attending the memorial. 

The Bank of Lisbon building houses the Gauteng departments of health, human settlements, and cooperative government and traditional affairs. The fire broke out on the 23rd floor of the building.

It has since been revealed that the building was only 21% compliant with occupational health and safety standards, as opposed to 85%, which was the norm.  

The wreath laying is scheduled for 10:30 and the procession is expected to move to the stadium at 11:30.

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