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Labour Dept joins probe into deaths of Joburg firefighters

Samwu claims that a lack of equipment and negligence led to the deaths.

FILE: The Labour Department has now joined the investigation into a building fire in the Johannesburg CBD at the weekend, killing two firefighters. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Labour Department has now joined the investigation into a building fire in the Johannesburg CBD at the weekend which killed two firefighters.

South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) claimed that a lack of equipment and negligence led to the deaths.

It said the pair went into the building at the insistence of their manager, even though they had no protective gear.

The department has joined the police and Emergency Management Services (EMS) to determine the exact circumstances of what happened.

The department's Mokgadi Pela said, "It's going to be a matter that involves the police and the fire brigade and ourselves. Once we have had an accident of this nature, we send out inspectors to the site."

Johannesburg EMS has denied the claims made by Samwu which include the firemen not being equipped with a hose and being ordered to enter the building despite the dangerous conditions.

Reports said a team who arrived a while before the two firemen refused to enter the building, saying the conditions were not safe.