Arson suspected after two fires at Durban's Addington Hospital

MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo inspects fire damage at Addington Hospital in Durban. (Supplied)
MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo inspects fire damage at Addington Hospital in Durban. (Supplied)

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.

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