Firefighters feared for lives responding to Braamfontein arson attacks

A Wits bus, Rea Vaya passenger bus and a police van were torched around the Wits University precinct.

A police van was set alight in Braamfontein. Picture: ‏@_ArriveAlive.

JOHANNESBURG - Firefighters say they feared for their lives while responding to three separate arson attacks in Braamfontein overnight.

Johannesburg Emergency Services say demonstrators hurled rocks at the fire engines.

A Wits bus, Rea Vaya passenger bus and a police van were torched around the university precinct.

Police also used stun grenades to disperse the crowd, who used rocks to block Jan Smuts and Jorrisen streets and hurled stones at officers.

EMS' Robert Mulaudzi says: "The protesters were stoning the fire engine and actually broke a window. For safety reasons we had to withdraw."

He says it's disturbing that firefighters are attacked while trying to carry out their duties.

"It was difficult for us but we had to do what we had to do. People out there need to understand that we have a mandate, we have a responsibility to save lives in the city of Johannesburg."

No arrests have yet been made and police are investigating whether the incidents are linked to the ongoing fees protests.

Wits management has condemned the incidents.

Wits says about 15 passengers were on board its bus when one of the occupants started a fire.

The institution's Shirona Patel says they're now studying CCTV footage at its bus stops to identify those behind the attacks.

"Wits University is looking at its bus routes this morning, to see how it can secure the bus routes add security to every bus to ensure students commute safely between campuses."