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Joburg firefighters vow to continue legacy of fallen colleagues

On Wednesday, family and emergency workers bid them farewell during an emotional wreath-laying ceremony at the scene of their last battle.

Members of the Johannesburg Emergency Services, metro police, paramedics and various private and public sector security companies gathered at the Bank of Lisbon building to honour the lives of three fighters who died while battling a blaze in the city centre.  Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Colleagues of the three firefighters who lost their lives in last week’s city centre blaze have vowed to honour their legacy and continue to serve their communities.

Mduduzi Ndlovu and Khathutshelo Muedi died on the 23rd floor of the Bank of Lisbon building when they were trapped by the raging flames last Wednesday.

Their colleague, Simphiwe Moropana, fell to his death.

On Wednesday, family and emergency workers bid them farewell during an emotional wreath-laying ceremony at the scene of their last battle.

“We will continue, though I’m broken, it’s hurting. We’ll be fine, I’ll continue to serve the society of South Africa.”

WATCH: Joburg firefighter: 'We're broken'

This was not the first time that Themba Tshemese had attended to a fire at a government building in downtown Joburg.

But this one was different and ended in tragedy.

He lost all three of his colleagues at once, their lives taken away by the same flames they had helped douse during the course of their work.

“EMS as a whole is in tears but there’s nothing we can do. We signed the oath, we’re firefighters, we’ll continue.”

Tshemese was recently discharged from hospital. He still has one hand wrapped in a bandage, a painful reminder of what he was confronted with last week.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)