Today the City of Johannesburg lost three brave firefighters in a fire that engulfed the Provincial Health Department Building in the Inner City of Johannesburg.
While the identities of the deceased firefighters is being withheld until such times as the families have been notified, I will be visiting the families tomorrow to pay my personal respects for their losses. During this difficult time, the City will be doing everything it can to assist the families of the deceased firefighters.
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 efforts to put out the blaze were hampered by a lack of sufficient water pressure in the building which is an important safety requirement in a building of this size. It is reported that several government officials who evacuated the building have referred to unsafe conditions in the offices.
This was confirmed by MEC for Infrastructure Development, Jacob Mamabolo who acknowledged that the building does not comply with occupational health and safety regulations. The building is allegedly owned by the Provincial Government Department of Infrastructure Development.
We regard these matters very seriously, given that this fire has led to the tragic loss of life of the three brave firefighters.
I am calling upon Premier David Makhura to probe the circumstances that led to the fire, which has ultimately claimed the lives of 3 of Johannesburg’s bravest.
As government, we must set the standard by which we expect building owners in Johannesburg to comply for the sake of the safety of those who live and work in these buildings.