Home World A fire in a multi-storey building in Johannesburg leaves at least 63 dead and more than 40 injured

A fire in a multi-storey building in Johannesburg leaves at least 63 dead and more than 40 injured

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A fire in a multi-storey building in Johannesburg leaves at least 63 dead and more than 40 injured

A fire that broke out in a five-storey building in downtown Johannesburg Thursday morning has killed at least 63 people and injured more than 40 others, city officials said.

The fire broke out in South Africa’s largest city around 1:30 a.m. local time, according to the Johannesburg City Emergency Management Services. When firefighters arrived at the scene, crews immediately began evacuating those inside the building and working to contain the fire.

By 8 am local time, most of the fires had been extinguished, but smoke was still coming from the windows.

Spokesman Robert Mulaudzi said that a search and recovery operation is taking place inside the building, and 63 bodies have been recovered so far. The Associated Press reported that at least one child was among the dead.

The video shows the moment a suspected gas explosion rocks the main city during rush hour, killing one person

Fire in downtown Johannesburg

At least 63 people have died and 43 others have been injured after a multi-storey building fire in Johannesburg, South Africa. (City of Joburg EMS/Facebook)

Johannesburg fire

Firefighters in Johannesburg, South Africa, work to recover bodies from a five-storey building after a fire broke out early in the morning in the city center. (Reuters / Safeway Cepico)

Mulaudzi said 43 people were treated at the scene for their injuries. The extent of their injuries was not disclosed, but he said they were all taken to area hospitals to receive further care.

The City of Johannesburg Disaster Management has activated relief for families affected by the fire.

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Charred building after the fire in Johannesburg

The building where the fire broke out has been overrun by homeless people, according to Joburg EMS spokesperson Robert Mulodzi, and as many as 200 people could have lived in it. (Michel Spatari/AFP)

Mulaudzi said the building had been taken over by homeless people looking for a place to live without formal leases, making the search difficult, according to the Associated Press.

“In my 20 years of service, I have never experienced anything like this,” Mulaudzi told the website.

Witnesses told local media that there may have been as many as 200 people living in the building.

Johannesburg fire

The cause of the deadly fire in Johannesburg, South Africa, is still under investigation. (Reuters / Safeway Cepico)

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The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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