LOVERS FEUD LEAVES 4 DEAD IN ARSON ATTACK
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TINA GEORGE A LOVERS’ feud seems to be the motive behind an apparent arson attack in which four Joburg innercity residents died.
The fire began on the seventh floor of the Cape York building, a former office block on the corner of Nugget and Jeppe streets, early yesterday. Frantic residents rushed to evacuate the rundown building.
Four people jumped from the ninestorey block.
“I heard banging on the door to tell me that the building is on fire and we must leave immediately,” said Sibongile Buthelezi, who fled with her eight children.
“I don’t know what is going to happen,” she said. “Nobody is telling us anything. All my belongings were inside the building.”
Ladie Tarolinga arrived while the fire was still blazing and rushed to the seventh floor, where his brother Jonathan lived.
“My brother was staying with other guys in the room, but I am certain that it’s his body that was removed because his bed is at the corner of the room.”
Emergency Medical Services spokeswoman Nana Radebe said they received a call at 4.40am.
“Four people jumped from the building and sustained serious injuries. One of them died on the way to hospital. Three residents, including an infant, were trapped inside and died in the fire. The fire was extinguished by more than 20 firefighters just before 10am.”
The fire safety officer could not determine the cause of the fire.
Ward councillor Nokhutula Xaba said the fire was started by quarrelling lovers.
“The couple had been fighting since the early hours at a tavern. The boyfriend allegedly threatened to burn down her place and disappeared soon afterwards, but the girlfriend didn’t take him seriously. ”
Xaba said the building was not fit for human habitation: “There is no sanitation, water or electricity and, worse still, there are disabled people also occupying this space.”
Residents were milling in the street after the fire. Police took away for questioning a man who collected rent at Cape York.
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