The death toll from a high-rise fire in Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city, has risen to 63 on Thursday, authorities said. Johannesburg Emergency Services said more than 40 other people were injured in the fire, which broke out in the early hours of August 31. “Now we have 63 dead and 43 injured, who have been sent to different hospital centers”, said the spokesperson of the Emergency Service, Robert Mulaudzi.
Mulaudzi said a search operation has already started, and that the number of victims is likely to increase. A child is also among the victims, he emphasized. Authorities said the fire was largely out, but smoke was still billowing from the windows of the blackened building in central Johannesburg. It is still not clear what caused the fire, while the building has now been fully gutted.
Mulaudzi emphasized that the building was “an informal settlement” where homeless people had settled in search of accommodation without any formal contractual agreement. According to him, this has made it difficult to search for people in the building. About 200 people may have been living in the building, according to witnesses.
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