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Updating: Johannesburg CBD fire is now contained, 3 firefighters dead

Update, 9am Friday: The fire which burned through a building in Johannesburg’s central district has been extinguished.

Update, 9pm Thursday: “Significant progress” has been made to extinguish a fire that has been raging in a building in Johannesburg’s CBD since Wednesday morning. However, there’s no indication that the fire has been extinguished completely as yet.

Original article: A fire which broke out in a Johannesburg CBD building on Wednesday morning is still burning.

The blaze, which ignited on the 23rd floor of the Gauteng provincial Department of Health and Department of Human Settlements, brought Johannesburg’s city centre to a standstill.

Read more: #JoburgFire: Twitter accounts to follow for breaking news

It has also claimed the lives of three firefighters.

Three firefighters dead

#JoburgFire and #JoburgCBD began trending fairly late on Wednesday, and soon after the announcement of the first firefighter’s death.

A tweet by said firefighter’s widow received over 11 000 likes and 7000 comments after it was posted in the early hours of Thursday morning.

“Today I lost my husband, my best friend, father to my children. I love u so much,” she wrote.

Videos online appeared of one firefighter falling from the building. Others simply sent their condolences to the families affected.

It’s not yet clear what caused the fire.

Twitter covers the Johannesburg fire from the ground

The fire was first reported early on Wednesday.

Smoke could still be seen billowing from the building early on Thursday.

By around 10am, much of the building’s top half was blackened by soot.

Reports also surfaced that the 16th floor was engulfed in flames.

“The fire is burning once again. We urge everyone who has to be in the area to remain safe and alert. There is debris flying all over the place,” tweeted Herman Mashaba, Johannesburg mayor on Thursday afternoon.

Firefighters from OR Tambo International Airport and Ekhuruleni Municipality have joined the Johannesburg EMS team battling the blaze.

Are there evacuations?

“No evacuation order has been issued as yet,” Joburg Public Safety tweeted around noon Thursday. The City has confirmed that if the situation worsens, an order may be given to those in surrounding buildings.

There are however disruptions to Johannesburg’s Rea Vaya bus service within the city centre.

“Commuters are informed that Chancellor house station can’t be accessed due to a burning building in Saure street, all buses have been diverted to Miriam Mageba and Temi Mpiliso street,” the service tweeted.

This is a developing story…

Feature image: Joburg Public Safety (@CoJPublicSafety) via Twitter

Author | Andy Walker: Editor

Andy Walker: Editor
Camper by day, run-and-gunner by night, Andy prefers his toast like his coffee -- dark and crunchy. Specialising in spotting the next big Instagram cat star, Andy also dabbles in smartphone, gadget and game reviews over on Gearburn. More

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