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Mashaba: Deadly Joburg fire has been extinguished

Airforce fire and rescue vehicles were called in on Thursday afternoon to bolster efforts to douse the flames.

Fire trucks and firefighters from the City of Tshwane at the Johannesburg CBD to assist with fighting the blaze. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Mayor Herman Mashaba says he's been told that the fire has been extinguished but emergency personnel say they are not taking any chances.

Rescue officials in the Johannesburg CBD have now evacuated students from a residence just opposite the government building that caught fire.

Three firefighters were killed on Wednesday after the blaze broke out on the 23rd floor.

Mashaba says the 13-story building next to the scene needed to be evacuated due to excessive smoke.

He says the smoke must be removed from the residence before the students return.

At the same time, Johannesburg emergency services spokesperson Nana Radebe has said that firefighting teams will make sure that the fire does not reignite.

“We’re doing firefighting and damping down to ensure the fire doesn’t reignite. We’re actually moving boxes, papers and furniture that is there.”

One official has also been hospitalised for exhaustion.

Airforce fire and rescue vehicles were called in on Thursday afternoon to bolster efforts to douse the flames.

Officials from the Sandf, Tshwane, Ekurhuleni and the Johannesburg emergency services are also on site.

Earlier, Premier David Makhura called for their assistance to create a combined effort to fight the fire.

Smoke continued to billow from the building.

DEATHS PROBE

The Infrastructure Development Department says while it's investigating the cause of the blaze, it also wants a separate probe into the deaths of the three firefighters to give their grieving families closure.

Government has called in backup from the cities of Tshwane, Ekurhuleni and even the military to bring the blaze under control.

Infrastructure Development MEC Jacob Mamabolo said: “If 1,115 people could be safely evacuated from the building, we need a clear report

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)