By Everson Luhanga

Tears of grief flowed as families watched the victims of the Johannesburg City Centre fire being pulled out of the burnt building.

The Johannesburg Emergency Management Services have confirmed the latest number of fatalities to be 74 people.

While 54 others have been treated and rushed to hospital. 

EMS veteran spokesperson Robert Mulaudzi said seven of the 64 people who have died are children. The youngest victim is a one-year-old baby. 

Some injured people are being treated for smoke inhalation, and burn wounds and some were injured after jumping through the windows in a bid to escape the raging blaze.

Mulaudzi said the blaze started on the ground floor spreading to upper floors up to the fifth floor.

Mulaudzi described it as a very sad day. 

“I have not come across so many bodies at one scene in my entire service with the EMS. This is a sad day,” he said.

Three roads heading to the building have been cordoned off.

Firefighting vehicles, Disaster Management Services, ambulances, Johannesburg Metro Police police as well as SAPS members are at the scene. City officials including Mayor Kabelo Gwamanda, speaker Colleen Makhubele and other members of the legislature attended the scene.

Several mortuary vans have been dispatched to the scene waiting to pick up bodies after investigations by EMS have been completed.

Mulaudzi said once they have completed their search and rescue mission, they will hand over the scene to SAPS who will continue with their investigation. 

Pictured above: The scene of the fire

Image source: Everson Luhanga


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