Fire breaks out at Bloemfontein two-storey building, major complications ensued for crews
A fire broke out at the China City building in Bloemfontein on Monday, 12 December 2022. Braam van Zyl, divisional officer at Mangaung Fire Department said, “China Town is housed in a double storey building and consists of 18 small shops, large store room areas and an office block. At approximately 19h00, a fire originated on the top storey and spread rapidly to the rest of the premise. Chaos ensued when shop owners and their employees started to frantically move stock to the outside of the building. When fire fighters from the Central Fire Station arrived in two fire engines and the hydraulic platform, the street was so crowded with people and vehicles that they could not gain entry to the scene of the fire and all the fire hydrants were obstructed by stock piles.”
“It also took a considerable amount of time for the SAPS to clear the area. Members from Central Fire Station entered the building from Fichard Street side entrance and members from the Ehrlich Park Fire station from Hanger Street entrance to fight the fire from ground level respectively”, he said.
Van Zyl added, “The intensity of the fire caused both the roof as well as the top floor to implode. Fire fighters were thus withdrawn from the inside of the building and fire fighting continued from the outside. The Fire Brigade’s main priority was to ensure that the intense fire did not spread to adjacent buildings. It took 16 hours and one million litres of water to extinguish the fire and bring it under control.”
The cause of the fire and reason for rapid spread are being investigated. The owner of the building lost two other buildings in the CBD due to fire in the past two months.
Source: Braam van Zyl, divisional officer, Mangaung Fire Department
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