South Africa: Fire in Johannesburg Leaves 73 Dead

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This morning a fire was reported in a building in the central area of Johannesburg. So far, the fire has left 73 dead and 52 injured .

Fire in a building in Johannesburg, South Africa



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Leer en español: Sudáfrica: Incendio en Johannesburgo deja 73 muertos

The death toll in a building fire that broke out this morning in the center of the South African city of Johannesburg (north) has risen from 63 to 73, authorities reported today, who still do not know the cause of the fire.

"The latest update is 73 dead and 52 injured. The search and recovery operation is still continuing" for victims, said the spokesman for the Johannesburg Emergency Management Services, Robert Mulaudzi, on his X social network account (formerly Twitter).

Previously, Mulaudzi explained to local media that the firefighters were alerted to the fire in the Marshalltown district around 01:30 local time (23:30 GMT on Wednesday) and that, among the deceased, is "a child who could be between one and two years".

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The minute by minute of the fire

"It is a five-story building that caught fire in the early hours of Thursday. We managed to evacuate the people inside as soon as we arrived, while we were carrying out firefighting operations," the spokesman said.

However, Mulaudzi warned that the death toll is likely to rise because "on each floor there is an informal settlement", and the people who rescue services were trying to evacuate "were trapped by the structures between the floors".

"We have informed the people who are on the scene looking for their relatives that the chances of finding them alive are very slim", the spokesman lamented.

The injured were taken to the hospital, including some suffering minor injuries and others inhaling smoke.

According to Mulaudzi, the fire has already been contained but "extinguishing operations" continue on Albert Street, where the building is located and there are lines of fire trucks and ambulances.

The mayor of Johannesburg, Kabelo Gwamanda, who went to the scene of the incident, confirmed in statements collected by local media that the building is owned by the city, was leased to an NGO and is called the Usindiso Homeless Shelter.

This is the third building fire in Johannesburg in recent months, according to South African media reports, after two minors died in another incident in June.