Citizen reporter
1 minute read
6 Sep 2021
1:32 pm

IN PICS: Three-year anniversary of the Bank of Lisbon fire tragedy

Citizen reporter

The fire started on the 23rd floor of the 31-storey building on 5 September 2018, and raged for three days. 

The memorial service for firefighters Simphiwe Moropana, Mduduzi Ndlozi and Khathutshelo Muedi at Ellis Park arena in Johannesburg, 12 September 2018. Picture: Neil McCartney

Three years ago, almost to the day, a fire broke out at the Bank of Lisbon, the building formerly used by the Gauteng Health Department as head offices. 

The fire started on the 23rd floor of the building on 5 September 2018, and raged for three days. 

ALSO READ: Praise, honour for firefighters who fought Bank of Lisbon fire

Three firefighters, Simphiwe Moropane, Mduduzi Ndlovu and Khathutshelo Muedi, lost their lives while trying to douse the fire. 

On November 24 2019, the 31-storey building, a staple in the Johannesburg skyline, was demolished. This after the fire caused severe damage to the slabs of the burnt floors, and posed a threat of collapsing if left to its own devices. 

A few days after the fire, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said evidence pointed towards the Gauteng government wilfully ignoring multiple warnings about the unsafe nature of the building for years.

ALSO READ: No closure for workers after Bank of Lisbon building fire

It emerged at the time that at least 10 of the building’s 24 floors were non-compliant before the fire, and should have been evacuated. The lack of water was also said to have been a major factor that hindered firefighting efforts, and contributed to the deaths of three firefighters. 

Gauteng Premier David Makhura has committed to releasing a report detailing the investigation conducted by the police, the City of Johannesburg, the Gauteng government and the department of labour by the end of September. 

Below are some iconic photographs captured by The Citizen photographer Neil McCartney on 5 and 6 September 2018, and and again on 12 September 2018, for the wreath-laying ceremony of the fallen firefighters.

Compiled by Nica Richards