73 people have died after a fire broke out in a five-story residential building in Johannesburg, South Africa.
According to the news agency AFP, the emergency service of the city of Johannesburg, South Africa, said on Thursday that children were among those who died in the fire late at night.
After the fire in the residential building, 52 people were rescued alive, but they were burned.
In recent years, this incident has been described as the world’s worst fire in terms of deaths.
An official said the bodies were found in a pile near a gate, indicating that people tried to escape but could not get out as the gate was locked.
City administration officials said the illegal residence took place after the building in the crime-hit area was declared abandoned.
A local person said that most of the people living there were foreigners.
Emergency Management Services spokesperson Robert Mulaudzi said that 73 deaths have now been confirm, and 52 people have been injure and have been transfer to various hospitals for further medical care.
He said that among the dead were at least seven children, the youngest of whom was less than two years old.
According to the authorities, the identification of some of the dead people was not possible due to the burning.
Kenny Boppe, a man who was rescue after being trapp in a burning building. He said: ‘I’m thankful to be alive; a lot of us were running. And trying to get out of the fire, and a lot. People eventually died of smoke inhalation.’
He said that he had reached the building to meet a friend.
The 28-year-old told AFP he was part of a group that managed to escape by breaking through a locked fire escape gate. While others ‘jumped’ from windows to save themselves.
Residents hung blankets and sheets from windows and swung to escape the burning building. Hanging from the grey building, these sheets are now reminiscent of dramatic scenes.
Speaking at a ceremony in the southern city of Gakibarha, President Cyril Ramaphosa said: “This is a great tragedy. We share the grief of the families whose loved ones were kill in this terrible way.”
“Our hearts go out to everyone who has been affect by this disaster,” the president said.
So far, the rescue authorities have not known the cause of the fire.