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Sunday World - - Front Page -

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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