WATCH: Joburg CBD fire survivor recounts horror of jumping from second floor to flee raging inferno



Published Aug 31, 2023


A Malawian national who was living in the five-story building in Johannesburg CBD when a fire broke out, told IOL how she had to jump from the second floor with her luggage while the fire engulfed the building.

“By midnight, I just heard people screaming and crying saying, ‘fire’ inside, ‘fire!’”

The sound of people shouting echoed through the burning building in Johannesburg CBD, said a survivor who was trapped inside.

The residents of a hijacked building in the Joburg CBD were being told to move out of the property as soon as possible because of the fire.

Talking to IOL, some of the survivors said the fire was too intense to handle and had to jump out of their floors while others used the corridors to escape the flames.

Desperate and caught up in a corner with luggage, a Malawian national who got wounded, Doreen Kumwenda, 26, said she had to jump off the second floor of the building to escape the blaze because she couldn’t use the stairs due to a huge smoke that covered the entire area.

Kumwenda, who jumped out of the window, said she couldn’t move properly because her right leg was cracked, her hand was wounded, and did not know where her husband was but her child was safe.

She said her husband and 21-month-old child were safe.

“My brother-in-law took my child because there was too much smoke, so he took my baby outside. I failed to go through the corridors and had to jump.

Survivors, Malawian national, Doreen Kumwenda (26) have been left stranded outside a store with luggage after their building was gutted by fire in the early hours of Thursday morning in the Johannesburg CBD. Picture: Kamogelo Moichela/IOL

“We jumped from the second floor. I have a wound on my hand, my leg is painful, my husband’s leg is also broken and I don’t know where he is now but he is safe,” Kumwenda said.

She said any medical and housing assistance would be appreciated because she only had her blankets and a few clothes.

“My passport is gone, the child's birth certificate and hospital card are gone, everything is gone,” she said.

Apart from the three of them, Kumwenda said her other 10 family members who were living in the same building were safe from the fire.

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