Five firefighters are recovering at home after the first floor of a double-storey building collapsed while they were fighting a blaze which flared up in a derelict building in Central on Thursday night.
Victoria Street in Central was a hub of activity on Thursday night as residents rushed out of their homes to watch the double-storey building being engulfed in flames. The cause of the fire, which started at about 8:30pm, is not yet known.
The blaze saw five firemen temporarily trapped in the derelict building after the roof of the first floor collapsed close to them.
However, Nelson Mandela Bay fire chief André de Ridder said teamwork saw all five of the firemen escape with minor injuries before the blaze was extinguished about two hours later.
De Ridder said: “The firefighters were able to escape through the assistance of their team. All of them were treated and discharged from St George’s Hospital last [Thursday] night. They suffered minor injuries ranging from bruises, to cuts and minor burns.”
“Although firefighters are prepared to deal with extremely difficult conditions on a daily basis, it is important that we acknowledge their bravery.
“Despite the risk of personal injury, the team members ensured that injuries to their colleagues remained at a minimum by pulling each other from the still burning debris and rubble, which partially covered them.”
Victoria Street resident Ashley Boggenberg said the blaze had been extinguished as quickly as it started.
“The firefighters were excellent. They arrived and immediately began to fight the fire and bravely walked into the burning building to see if there was anyone trapped inside,” she said.
“I know there were people living in that building. But I guess they all made it out before the fire became too hectic and the roof collapsed. If it wasn’t for them [firefighters] who knows how far it would have spread.”
De Ridder said since the building was abandoned it was difficult to detail the cost of the damage, confirm ownership or provide the cause of the fire at this stage.