Patients evacuated as fire breaks out in South African hospital

17 April 2021, 10:44

Hospital staff prepare to evacuate patients on stretchers (Ali Greef/AP)
South Africa Hospital Fire. Picture: PA

Coronavirus patients were among those being treated at the facility.

Hundreds of patients were being evacuated from Johannesburg’s Charlotte Maxeke Hospital where a fire was blazing through parts of the facility in South Africa’s largest city.

No injuries or casualties have been reported and patients were being moved to other public hospitals in the metropolitan area, Johannesburg officials said.

Early Saturday morning the fire caused the third floor of the hospital’s parking garage to collapse.

Sixty firefighters have been battling the blaze through the night.

The fire started on Friday morning and had been doused by the afternoon but then it reignited in the evening and burned through the night.

The fire has caused extensive damage to the hospital, which has more than 1,000 beds and serves Johannesburg, a city of six million people, and the surrounding Gauteng province.

Patients were evacuated from the scene (Ali Greeff/AP)
Patients were evacuated from the scene (Ali Greeff/AP)

It is one of the biggest public hospitals in South Africa.

It is also a designated treatment centre for Covid-19 in Gauteng.

The fire started in a storeroom for dry surgical supplies, according to officials.

“Our firefighters have been receiving help from others in neighbouring municipalities.

“It has been a tedious process trying to move patients.

“At first, we moved them to wards that were far away from the fire but we started to evacuate them,” Gauteng health spokeswoman Kwara Kekana said.

“That is still a process that is ongoing, we are now referring all patients to other hospitals,” said Ms Kekana.

By Press Association