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Recovering firefighters struggling to deal with trauma of Joburg CBD fire

The road to recovery will be a long and testing one for Moleko Bereng and Livhuwani Maumela but they remain positive and hope to return to the jobs they love soon.

A screengrab of Livhuwani Maumela, who was injured in the line of duty while fighting the Bank of Lisbon fire in Johannesburg, speaks from hospital.

JOHANNESBURG – Two months after the deadly Joburg fire that claimed the lives of three firefighters, their colleagues have told Eyewitness News about their battle to come to terms with the tragedy and their own recovery.

The blaze tore through the 23rd floor of the Bank of Lisbon building in downtown Joburg.

It was then discovered that the building was only 20% compliant with occupational health and safety standards.

Moleko Bereng and Livhuwani Maumela recount the harrowing events of 5 September. The trauma still visibly fresh on the minds.

The men show Eyewitness News the burn wounds on their hands after both underwent several and extensive surgical procedures, including skin grafts.

[WARNING: Graphic content] WATCH: Firefighters hurt in Joburg CBD fire speak from hospital

Bereng describes how he struggled to free his colleagues who were trapped by the overpowering flames.

The father of two says the first three weeks of his hospital stay were the worst.

"When I went to ICU burns for three days, I was having flashbacks, I was shaking."

With his hands resting on his lap, Maumela details how he struggled to accept what happened to him.

"I thought maybe my hand can't work but now I can see the process, I’m impressed by my recovery."

The road to recovery will be a long and testing one for the two men but they remain positive and hope to return to the jobs they love soon.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)