At least 73 dead as blaze engulfs five-storey building in Central Johannesburg this morning (Thursday). A building in central Marshalltown neighbourhood was being used as ‘informal’ housing for some 200 homeless people.
More than 40 others have been injured in the fire in Marshalltown as videos captured at the scene show raging flames consuming the lower level of the building.
A search-and-recovery operation is underway as authorities said they were expecting the death toll to rise.
The fire has largely been extinguished after firefighters raced to the scene to tackle the flames, but smoke still seeps out of the charred building.
Reports suggest as many as 200 people lived in the building, which was an “informal settlement” housing homeless people while they looked for permanent accommodation.
City of Johannesburg emergency services spokesperson Robert Mulaudzi said the building’s status as a homeless shelter had made it harder to account for those killed and missing, as those living there were doing so without formal lease agreements.
The number of people injured still stands at 43, said spokesperson Robert Mulaudzi.