13 injured in Durban CBD as China Emporium goes up in flames
At least 13 people, many of them Chinese nationals, sustained minor to moderate injuries after a fire broke out at the China Emporium on the corner of Anton Lembede and Brook streets in Durban’s CBD on Friday.
Emergency services cordoned off parts of Anton Lembede, Brook and Dr Pixley Kaseme streets while members of eThekwini fire and rescue battled the blaze.
Firefighters and Metro police search and rescue members used ladders to get into the building to search for those who had been trapped.
Kyle van Reenen of Emer-G-Med said multiple emergency services responded to the scene shortly after 10am.
“Thirteen people were treated for injuries ranging from minor to moderate and taken to nearby hospitals. The cause of the fire is unknown and will form the subject of a police investigation,” he said.
Fire at a building on Dr Pixley Kaseme St (formerly West St) - believed to be China Mall.— Orrin Singh (@orrin417) January 21, 2022
13 people evacuated & treated for injuries ranging from minor to moderate. No children were found or injured and no fatalities reported.
Video: Supplied/Kyle van Reeneen@TimesLIVE pic.twitter.com/xGIul9BbB7
Garrith Jamieson of ALS Paramedics said two people had moderate burns while a third was injured after jumping from a window.
Acting divisional commander of the eThekwini fire department Sifiso Mtshali confirmed that everyone who had been in the mall had been accounted for.
“There were people on the floor right above the fire and we managed to get them out using our hydraulic platforms,” said Mtshali.
“When we did the headcount it was confirmed that no-one was left inside the building.”
He confirmed that the fire was under control. He said the blaze was confined to the ground floor but “there's a lot of fire inside the building” where a lot of stock had been stored, “hence the flames”.
Mtshali could not say how long it would take to extinguish the blaze.
“We're very close to containing it, we will be moving to extinguishing very soon.”
Employees suspected that a generator could have ignited the blaze but Mtshali said: “The cause is still unknown. We still need to do an investigation.”
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