UPDATE: Braampark building up in flames

The police are investigating a case of arson after a fire caused major damage to a building in Braampark, Braamfontein on 18 April.

According to a statement released by Sanlam, forensic insurance investigation teams will be inspecting the building to determine the origin of the fire.

After the building in Braampark caught fire at about 1.40pm the building was evacuated. Nobody sustained any injuries although a few people were treated for smoke inhalation. Firefighters arrived on the scene within minutes of the fire being reported.

Read: #ICYMI: VIDEO + PICS of the Braampark fire

According to Synock Matobako, spokesperson for Johannesburg Emergency Services, the fire started on the top floor of the building but the cause of the fire is not yet known.

“The roof has collapsed and we searched [to see] if there were any people still trapped in the building. We couldn’t find anyone. The crew started with their firefighting and contained the fire,” said Matobako.

He added that the structural collapse of the roof was a concern.

The building, which is owned by Sanlam, was occupied by First National Bank, South Africa National Blood Services, Coupon Clearing Bureau, Khula Enterprise Finance, Black Lawyers Association Legal Education and Fibre Processing & Manufacturing Seta at the time of the fire.

“There will be an investigation into how the fire started,” said Matobako. “However, because the top floor of the building is unstable, the floor will need to be declared safe before anyone can walk on the floor.

Read: #BraamParkFire: MMC of Public Safety Michael Sun has warned motorists to avoid Braampark following a fire

“We are still going to check the stability of the building, whether it’s stable for anyone to go inside. It could take quite a long time for us to [find out] what caused the fire.”

Matobako added that contractors were working on the roof with a gas torch, however, the official cause of the fire was still pending an investigation.

Police spokesperson Kay Makhubela told the Rosebank Killarney Gazette that a case of arson has been opened and the investigation would begin immediately.

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Laura Pisanello

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