The firefighters who died trapped inside the burning Bank of Lisbon building in the Johannesburg CBD suffered severe burns to their hands “as they were using them to defend themselves against the flames”.
And the man who fell from the 23rd floor of the building was so severely injured that his body was almost unrecognisable.
This was revealed by a colleague of the three firefighters at their memorial service on Wednesday‚ who painted a grim picture of the trio’s last moments alive.
Simphiwe Moropana‚ Mduduzi Ndlovu and Khathutshelo Muedi were killed when they reported to the building after a fire broke out on the 23rd floor. For the first time on Wednesday‚ their families visited the deadly scene.
Moropana‚ from the Fairview Fire Station‚ was identified as the man who fell from the building.
Taking the podium‚ Muzikayise Zwane told mourners that the man who fell from the 23rd floor was horrifically injured by the impact of the fall.
He also described the burn wounds of his colleagues.
“Their hands burnt because they were using them to defend themselves against the flames. There was nothing else they could defend themselves with because there was no water‚” he said.
Zwane said he had received a call from one of the men‚ and was told that they were trapped in the building and could not find their way out amid the flames.