Patients evacuated, PPE and medical supplies destroyed in 'raging' Charlotte Maxeke hospital blaze

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  • Patients were evacuated on Friday night after a fire ripped through Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in Johannesburg.
  • Equipment and medical supplies were destroyed.
  • Premier David Makhura is expected to visit the hospital to assess the damage.

Scores of patients had to be evacuated from the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital as firefighters from across Gauteng battled a blaze that swept through the medical facility.

The fire first broke out at the hospital's special dispensary stores on Friday morning.

The provincial health department said in a statement on Friday morning that the fire had been contained. But another statement followed at around 20:00 and it stated that the fire reignited.

Patients were moved to other wards as firefighters battled the blaze. According to the provincial department, thieves took advantage of the emergency situation and stole two cars parked on the premises.

Video footage of the fire showed shocked healthcare workers watching the chaos.

READ | Fire at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital has been contained, no casualties reported - Gauteng Health

Vehicles could be seen leaving the premises as smoke filled the enclosed parking lot. Inside the hospital, nurses were frantically pushing patients in hospital beds. Some patients stood by, while others walked around barefoot, seemingly confused.

No casualties were reported.

Medical supplies, including personal protective equipment (PPE), syringes and masks, were believed to have been destroyed.

'Everything on the floor is burned'

A healthcare worker who asked to remain anonymous, said the fire started on the second floor where the equipment was stored.

"The raging fire destroyed their equipment," she said.

"Level 2 (the second floor) was destroyed. Everything on that floor is burned...that fire that started at 11:00 was never extinguished. I doubt it was, because what happened hours later showed that the fire continued. Our equipment such as PPE, gloves, syringes, masks are stored on Level 2, and they're all gone," she told News24.

"A lot happens at CM (Charlotte Maxeke) hospital. The roof has collapsed several times. Sometimes you would come across cleaners mopping the floors endlessly because of water leaks. That is common at the hospital...I remember one day cleaners took to mopping the floors and placing buckets as always thinking it was water leaking, it was discovered that sewerage was leaking somewhere, landing on the floors. That hospital is never maintained at all," she added.

WATCH | Fire rips through Cape Town building

Gauteng Premier David Makhura was expected to visit the fire-ravaged hospital on Saturday morning to assess the extent of the damage.


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