Connect with us


Johannesburg CBD Fire Tragedy: 77 Lives Lost, Cause Remains Unknown



cause of the Johannesburg CBD fire

The cause of the Johannesburg CBD fire that claimed the lives of at least 77 people in a five-story building remains a troubling mystery as government officials grapple with a tragedy that has exposed critical safety issues. According to allAfrica, Number 80 Albert Street in Marshalltown, where the devastating blaze occurred, has raised serious concerns among health and safety officials who have described it as a firetrap.

Preliminary investigations suggest that the fire originated on the ground floor, where numerous residents found themselves trapped behind locked gates as the flames rapidly spread. According to Mgcini Tshwaku, the Johannesburg councilman responsible for public safety, many bodies were discovered behind these locked gates, which were for deterring burglars. Shockingly, similar security gates were found between floors, preventing residents from moving within the building as the fire rapidly advanced. Tshwaku highlighted that this played a significant role in the high death toll.

The dire situation forced desperate individuals to leap from high windows to survive, including a tragic incident involving a 15-year-old girl who died in this desperate escape attempt. The building was densely packed with highly flammable materials, adding to the tragedy. Living spaces were partitioned with cardboard and sheets, while electric cables dangled from the ceilings, posing further risks.

Also read: SANCO Joins Comprehensive Investigation into Devastating Marshalltown Fire

It’s important to note that this building was just one among 600 illegally occupied and neglected structures in Johannesburg, often housing people too economically disadvantaged to afford even the most basic rents. Shockingly, the last health inspection occurred in June 2019, roughly four months before city officials raided the building and arrested 140 foreign nationals for unlawfully collecting rent. No city officials entered the building again until the inferno of last Thursday.


Amid the unfolding tragedy, there remains a lack of comprehensive information about the victims, including approximately a dozen children, who perished inside the Usindiso Shelter for abused women. This disaster raises profound questions about why such a catastrophe was allowed to occur.

Johannesburg mayor Kabelo Gwamanda revealed that 141 families had been affected by this heart-wrenching tragedy. However, the number of individuals inside the building when the fire ignited remains unknown. The aftermath of this disaster has revealed a complex web of issues surrounding safety and oversight in Johannesburg’s urban landscape.

Also read:

Joburg CBD Fire Death Toll Expected to Increase, Warns GP Health MEC Nkomo-Ralehoko

Picture: X / Loyiso_Masuku


Follow us on Google News.

Continue Reading