The Mercury


- (ANA) | DOCTOR NGCOBO African News Agency

FIREFIGHTE­RS battled for several hours to extinguish a blaze at a building in Felix Dlamini (Brickfield) Road yesterday. Plumes of thick, black smoke could be seen in the sky from as far away as the M19 near Westville.

FIREFIGHTE­RS battled for more than eight hours to extinguish a fire in a building on Felix Dlamini (Brickfield) Road in Overport yesterday.

It is believed that the fire started at the premises of a flooring company based on the second floor of the building.

The fire then spread to the third floor, where a number of families stay, and also spread to a nearby building.

Sibusiso Mkhulisi, eThekwini Fire regional division commander, said that firefighte­rs responded to the scene just after 8.30am after receiving a call from a business owner.

He said the teams struggled to extinguish the fire as it was difficult to gain access to the buildings.

“What we did was to stop it from spreading to other close-by buildings because there was a risk that the fire was going to spread even further. We managed to contain it just after 4pm.”

He said they didn’t know whether there were flare-ups inside the building as it was not safe to enter the premises.

“We have decided not to go inside the building where the fire started due to safety reasons. Some building materials are falling and there is a risk that it (the building) may fall,” he said.

He could not say what had started the fire.

A Durban metro police Search and Rescue member sustained second-degree burns to his back when he tried to assist with the evacuation.

Emer-G-Med paramedics spokespers­on Kyle van Reenen confirmed the incident and said the patient was treated for his burn wound before being transporte­d to hospital for further care.

He said there were no reports of smoke inhalation incidents and the occupants of the building escaped unscathed.

Metro police spokespers­on Senior Superinten­dent Parboo Sewpersad confirmed that one of their members had been injured.

He added that traffic was heavily affected as they had to close the road in both directions for most of the day.

Taahir Syed, who owns the flooring business, said that he and his partner had just arrived at work when they heard people outside screaming and saw that there was smoke. He said they ran out of the building.

“I only managed to get my laptop. We have no idea what could have started the fire.

“We had barely started with work, and we had only been there for like two minutes,” he said.

According to Syed, the business had been operating in the building since January this year.

He said that machines, equipment and stock with an estimated value of R1 million were lost in the fire.

“We were just planning to have our own retail outlet that was going to specialise in carpets.

“We were also going to employ more than five people as everything was ready for our opening in June. But now, we may close down for good,” he said.

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