The Citizen Pretoria office on fire

Authorities say the fire started near a transformer in the parking lot of the Apollo Building.

Three people were treated for smoke inhalation in the Pretoria CBD when the basement parking of The Citizen’s Pretoria office caught fire on Wednesday.

According to the Tshwane emergency services, the fire started near a transformer in the parking lot of the Apollo Building, owned by City Property, causing excessive smoke.

“We are on scene to assess the extent of the damage. The origin of the fire was either the transformer or something behind the transformer,” said spokesperson Johan Pieterse.

He said all occupants were evacuated from the building.

But The Citizen’s photographer, Jacques Nelles, had left his car in the parking lot where the fire started. He said police blocked him from entering the scene.

“I had returned to the office from a shoot and I argued with police to let me through as they had closed off the road. When I heard about the fire in the parking lot, I was worried my car will be burned. I am hoping for the best,” Nelles said.

Pieterse reassured him that the cars in the basement were not damaged.

“If there was, however, a car next to the transformer, it might have been exposed to heat. The situation is currently under control and three people were treated for slight smoke inhalation.”

City Property’s spokesperson Lize Nel expressed gratitude to the Tshwane emergency services for their speedy response.

“We are also grateful to our building staff who assisted to vacate all tenants. Tshwane [emergency services] is on site to ensure electricity is cut.

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