Eight small shops – at the corner of Jeppe and Polly Street – caught fire in the early hours of Wednesday morning and Joburg Emergency Management Services (EMS) have confirmed that there were no casualties reported.
It’s not clear who owns the building or whether the incident is linked to non-compliant hijacked buildings in the Joburg CBD.
There’s been growing concerns about the level of safety of some of the buildings in the city centre – after a series of fires in recent years.
The most recent case involved the Usindiso Building in Marshalltown, said to be one of the hijacked buildings, which caught fire and resulted in the deaths of more than 80 residents.
A commission of inquiry was set up to look into the Usindiso inferno and other hijacked buildings.
The first witness at the Usindiso inquiry, Johannesburg Emergency Medical Services acting chief Rapulane Monageng, cited several non-compliant practices as the cause of the fire.
“The incident led to a debate on hijacked buildings in Joburg’s city centre, with many indicating the Marshalltown incident was due to poor service delivery and criminality. There were residents in the building who were paying unknown “landlords”.
Joburg EMS spokesperson Xolile Khumalo has urged the community of Johannesburg to exercise extra precautions when using electrical appliances or braziers.
“Please ensure that these are switched off or put out when not in use,” he said.