Investigations underway into provincial office building fire

The Gauteng Infrastructure Development Department says the government-owned building where a fire erupted on Wednesday was not compliant with occupational health and safety standards.

The blaze, at the Gauteng Health, Human Settlements and Co-operative Government and Traditional Affairs office building, claimed the lives of three firefighters who had responded to the scene and were trying to douse the flames.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura and Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi visited others who were injured in the blaze at Milpark Hospital yesterday afternoon.

The fire has since spread to other floors in the building.

“The Department of Infrastructure Development had for some time been concerned with the state of government buildings and in 2017 commissioned an assessment for occupational health and safety.

“The report which was presented in August 27, 2018, revealed that The Bank of Lisbon [which housed the provincial offices] was non-compliant with occupational health and safety standards. The building only had 21% compliance against the norm of 85%,” said the Gauteng Health department in a statement on Wednesday.

Infrastructure Development MEC Jacob Mamabolo said the department has been aware of the matter and it is being addressed with the seriousness it deserves.

Staff working in the building were evacuated from the building and are receiving counseling. The officials will be allowed to stay at home until a suitable alternative can be found where they can report for duty.

The department of Infrastructure Development is working with the three departments to find alternative office space.

The provincial government thanked the fire fighters who lost their lives in the line of duty.

“The provincial government thanks the fire fighters for displaying bravery and commitment, and for putting their lives at risk in an attempt to save the lives of others. We send our heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased,” it said.

The building has been shut down to allow investigators to conduct investigations into the cause of the fire.

– SAnews.gov.za