More than 70 people have been killed and over 50 were injured in a fire that engulfed a five-storey building in central Johannesburg on Thursday, the South African city’s emergency services said.
Among the injured, some suffering from smoke inhalation, and were taken for treatment at local hospitals, Emergency Management Services spokesman Robert Mulaudzi said.
“The latest update is that we have now 73 fatalities and 52 people injured who were transported to various healthcare facilities for further medical care,” said Emergency Management Services spokesman Robert Mulaudzi.
While it was not immediately clear what caused the blaze, which broke out overnight, firefighters who were called to the scene put out the flames and initiated search and recovery operations, AFP reported.
“We are moving floor by floor conducting these body recoveries,” Mulaudzi said, adding the death toll was expected to rise.
The building, which has been evacuated, is located in a deprived area of what used to be the business district of South Africa’s economic hub, and was used as an informal settlement, Mulaudzi said.
Television footage showed fire trucks and ambulances outside the red and white building with burned-out windows, which had been cordoned off by police.