Johannesburg — Nearly 700 patients evacuated from Charlotte Maxique Hospital in Johannesburg on Saturday. There, a fire broke out all night at some of South Africa’s largest urban facilities.
No injuries or casualties have been reported. David Mafra, the prime minister of Gauteng, where Johannesburg is located, said the fire was contained but the hospital was closed for seven days.
According to Muffler, 400 patients have already been transferred to other public hospitals in the metropolitan area, with an additional 270 patients expected to be transferred by the end of Saturday.
Early Saturday morning, a fire destroyed the third floor of the hospital parking lot.
60 firefighters have been fighting the flames all night. The fire started on Friday morning and was extinguished by the afternoon, but reignited in the evening and continued to burn all night.
The fire caused enormous damage to hospitals servicing Johannesburg and its surrounding state of Gauteng, which has more than 1,000 beds and a population of 6 million. It is one of the largest public hospitals in the country.
It is also the designated treatment center for COVID-19 in Howten. According to Muffler, the hospital had 13 COVID-19 patients, two in the ICU and 11 in the general ward. They were all moved to other hospitals.
“The fire was contained in some areas. We are closing the hospital as a precautionary measure because of the large amount of smoke in other areas, including the ward,” Muffler said.
According to authorities, the fire began in a dry surgical supplies storage room.
Firefighters reported that the flames resumed from smoldering medical supplies, including the supply of personal protective equipment used by staff treating patients with COVID-19, according to Muffler. He said the fire investigation would begin.
“Our firefighters are backed by other people in nearby municipalities. Trying to move patients was a tedious process. At first, they were moved to a ward far from the fire. But we have begun to evacuate, “said Kwara Kekana, a health spokeswoman in Gauteng. “It’s still an ongoing process. We are currently referencing all patients to other hospitals.”