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INNER-CITY BLAZE

Joburg CBD firefighters in yet another battle as flames tear through mall shops

Joburg CBD firefighters in yet another battle as flames tear through mall shops
Firefighters extinguished a fire on the corner of Jeppe and Polly streets in the Johannesburg inner city on 15 November 2023. (Photo: Gallo Images / Fani Mahuntsi)

Another fire in the Johannesburg CBD – at the Bree City Mall – has left at least eight shops burnt. No deaths were recorded, but the number of fires in the city remains a concern.

In the early hours of Wednesday, Johannesburg’s Emergency Management Services (EMS) battled to put out a fire that had engulfed eight shops in the Bree City Mall on the corner of Rahima Moosa and Polly streets in Johannesburg.

EMS spokesperson Xolile Khumalo said the EMS firefighters received the fire call at 4.55am.  

“Two small shops caught on fire and spread to the other six because of the content of the shops and because they usually lock them with aluminium doors which are hard to break down. No injuries have been reported.”

Bystanders claim the fire could have been caused by faulty appliances when the electricity came back on after load shedding between 2am and 4am.

Joburg EMS said fire inspectors are still investigating the cause of the fire, which was extinguished.

EMS urged Johannesburg residents to be extra-careful when using electrical appliances or braziers, and to make sure they are switched off or put out when not in use. 

“Stay safe and take care during this cold weather,” said Khumalo.

Joburg CBD fire

The fire started on the corner of Jeppe and Polly streets on 15 November 2023. (Photo: Gallo Images / Fani Mahuntsi)

The road is cordoned off while firefighters battled the blaze on the corner of Jeppe and Polly streets in the Joburg CBD on 15 November 2023. (Photo: Gallo Images / Fani Mahuntsi)

In recent months Johannesburg has seen a spate of building fires, including the Usindiso building blaze which claimed at least 77 lives, as well as an explosion that ripped through Bree Street, leaving one dead and 48 injured.

Khumalo said the EMS can’t speculate about whether there is an increase in fires, adding that the causes vary.

“We attend to a lot of fires in a day; [it’s] just that some of them don’t get the attention of the media in comparison to ones occurring in the CBD.” 

The fires have prompted questions about the City’s overall fire safety measures and the need for heightened awareness and preventive actions within the community. As investigations into the Bree City Mall fire unfold, residents are urged to remain vigilant and prioritise safety in their daily activities. DM

The aftermath of the fire on the corner of Jeppe and Polly streets on 15 November 2023. (Photo: Gallo Images / Fani Mahuntsi)

Firefighters on the scene of the fire in the Joburg CBD on 15 November 2023. (Photo: Gallo Images / Fani Mahuntsi)

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