Disasters

Siyanda Ndlovu
Digital Journalist
3 minute read
17 Apr 2021
8:22 am

Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital fire extinguished

Siyanda Ndlovu

'The primary focus at this stage is to save lives and ensure a total evacuation of all the remaining 270 patients to other facilities', the department said.

Fire damage at Charlotte Maxeke hospital in Johannesburg. Picture: Twitter/@GautengHealth

 

The City of Joburg EMS has confirmed that the fire that resulted to the shut down at Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital has been extinguished.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura announced on Saturday morning that the facility has been temporarily shut down for seven days

Makhura visited the facility on Saturday morning, as patients at the facility were being moved to other healthcare institutions due to concerns of smoke contamination and safety precaution.

EMS outside Charlotte Maxeke hospital

Patients have to be evacuated due to possible smoke inhalation. Photo: Twitter/@GautengHealth

“The primary focus at this stage is to save lives and ensure a total evacuation of all the remaining 270 patients to other facilities.

“The evacuation of patients is a safety precaution due to concern of smoke contamination,” reads the latest statement.

“The Gauteng Provincial Government has activated the provincial call centre to allow family members of the patients to obtain more information about which facilities their loved ones have been transferred to,” reads the statement from the premier’s office.

Patients being evacuated from Charlotte Maxeke hospital

Patients being evacuated. Photo: Supplied

The fire broke out on Friday at the hospital’s special dispensary stores and was eventually contained, but reignited in the evening.

The City of Johannesburg Emergency Services (EMS) spokesperson Synock Matobako said that the structural integrity of the facility has been compromised.

There are no casualties reported, but three firefighters collapsed as they battled the blaze.

EMS at Charlotte Maxeke after a fire

EMS at Charlotte Maxeke. Photo: Supplied

“We have actually managed to contain the fire not to spread to other areas, although it’s a very difficult situation, because the structural integrity of the building has been compromised, said Matobako.

“Around 5 o’clock this morning, the floor above the medical supply storeroom caved in and collapsed, so the firefighting that you see happening is that firefighters are not inside the building.

“We had three firefighter collapsing from exhaustion but they [have] since recovered, because they have been here for quite long and obviously they are exhausted… The extent of the heat is so extreme that some firefighters had their helmets burnt.”

Firefighters outside Charlotte Maxeke hospital

Firefighters outside Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital. Photo: Twitter/@GautengHealth

WATCH: Charlotte Maxeke hospital fire rages into the night

Matobaka said that the extent of the damage is still unknown, and that a specialist has been called to asses the structure of the building to determine if it is safe to go inside to fight the blaze.

Medical equipment and consumables have been damaged in the fire, but the amount of damage is still being quantified by the Gauteng and national health departments. 

Updates to follow as more information is made available.