The report on the cause of a fire at a building that housed three government departments in the inner-city of Johannesburg is still far from being released.
This according to the City of Johannesburg’s Emergency Management Services’ (EMS) spokesperson, Nana Radebe who said that it is a long process that requires a lot of work to be done.
The building, also known as the Bank of Lisbon, which housed departments of health, human settlement and cooperative governance and traditional affairs, caught fire on 5 September this year.
About eight firefighters were injured while trying to extinguish the fire and three others were killed with one plunging to his death from the top of the 23-storey building. Other staff members working at the building situated along Sauer Street were also hospitalised due to severe smoke inhalation.
Radebe said the investigation on the cause of the fire has not yet been determined due to the extensive nature of damages the building had suffered.
She added that the delays are due to the scale of interviews that are still underway with the staff as well as the firefighters who responded to the building situation. “Remember, some of them were still in hospital due to their injuries and they are still to be interviewed, including the staff that work in the building, especially on the floor where the fire initially started.
“The City has also brought in an independent investigation firm to conduct its own independent probe about the cause of the fire, so, this investigation is still far from being concluded. We will release the final report as soon as all the investigation has been concluded but at the moment we have nothing to report.”
Radebe said two of the eight firefighters who were hospitalised are still in hospital. Only six have been discharged and they are back at work.
When the news broke out, as reported in North Eastern Tribune in the article CBD fire building ‘bad’ and ‘risky’, Week Ending 14 September, the government confirmed that it was aware of the fact that the building was non-compliant with the occupation safety standards. According to the MEC for the Department of Infrastructure in Gauteng, Jacob Mamabolo, the safety level of the building stood at 21 per cent.