Firefighters were ‘sent into a death trap’

06 September 2018 - 06:07 By Graeme Hosken, Belinda Pheto, Nico Gous and Nonkululeko Njilo
Three firefighters have been confirmed dead in the blaze in the building that houses the Gauteng department of health in the Johannesburg CBD on September 5, 2018.
Three firefighters have been confirmed dead in the blaze in the building that houses the Gauteng department of health in the Johannesburg CBD on September 5, 2018.
Image: Thapelo Morebudi

“They were sent to their deaths.” This was the consensus by former city fire officers who were trying to make sense of the deaths of three firefighters who died in Johannesburg on Wednesday while trying to rescue dozens of government officials trapped in a burning building in the inner city.

The building, which was condemned one week ago in a report by the Gauteng infrastructure development department, is a “complete fire hazard” and a “death trap”, say the former firefighters.

But public safety MMC Micheal Sun disputed claims that the firemen were sent to their deaths and that proper firefighting safety protocols were not followed, while Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba, referring to the fact that the building was not up to standard, said efforts to put out the blaze were hampered by a lack of sufficient water pressure in the building.

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