More than 70 people killed after fire leaves migrants’ building gutted in South Africa’s Johannesburg


More than 70 people are reported to have died after a fire left a migrants’ building in Johannesburg in South Africa gutted.

Photo: BBC

Known as ‘hijacked building’, the place was being used by squatters.

Authorities say that more than 50 people have sustained injures in the fire.

The fire gutted the building at around 5 am IST.

One local official, Lebogang Maile, wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, “About 300 people (141 households) are displaced, including the 49 in hospital and will be housed in another building owned by the City of Johannesburg.”

Maile said that the building was initially leased by an NGO to house abused women but was later shut down due to safety reasons.

“A while back, it was raided by the City with SAPS and home affairs with arrests made. It was also found that there were people who were collecting rent and therefore SAPS was delegated to deal with the matter,” Maile added.

Although authorities are unclear about the cause of the fire, one squatter told the BBC without revealing her identity that it started with a power outage and ‘that the sound of it was terrifying, describing it as like a bunch of gunshots and then a massive explosion.’

Most of the occupants of the building were mostly African migrants.