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'Exhausted' firefighting crews resume battle to extinguish Joburg CBD blaze

The blaze started on Wednesday on the 23rd floor of the building which houses the Departments of Health, Human Settlements and Cogta.

Firefighters are still on the scene this morning as they continue to battle the blaze in the Joburg CBD. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Joburg Emergency Services (EMS) has confirmed that a fire is still raging at building in the Johannesburg CBD where three firefighters were killed.

The blaze started on Wednesday on the 23rd floor of the building which houses the Departments of Health, Human Settlements and Cogta.

EMS has confirmed that the fire has now moved to the 16th floor through a shaft.

It’s understood that firefighters experienced problems with water pressure while battling the blaze late on Wednesday night.

Joburg Emergency Services Nana Radebe says: “The teams that were there were exhausted, the water pressure wasn’t that good as well.

“We’ve taken a decision to regroup at 7am because of natural gases that are there to burn out as well. So, at 7 am we will have new groups and we’ll resume the work.”

VIDEO: 3 firefighters die in Johannesburg CBD fire

Gauteng Emergency Services CEO Lesiba Malotana has told Eyewitness News that he feels dejected after the death of three firefighters.

One firefighter fell to his death while two others died while battling the blaze in the building on Wednesday.

Malotana says that it seems that an electrical fault caused the blaze.

"It's not common, it's a shock to the system and will take a lot of time to process."

Malotana was one of the last people who saw the firefighter before he fell to his death.

He told EWN that the firefighter apparently tried to open the window for air when he was pushed out of the building due to the pressure that had built up in the room.

"When he came back to that floor, he went to open the window. The fire took the path of least resistance, which was where he was coming from, like a negative sucking air... [sic]"

Molotana says that no one could have foreseen the tragedy.