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Firefighters Killed in High-Rise Fire in South Africa

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa –  Three firefighters are reported dead while battling a fire in a high-rise building, according to recent reports for and other local news outlets.

The fire occurred on the 23rd floor of the Bank of Lisbon building, and Sauer Street.  The structure also houses the Gauteng Health Department and the Human Settlements Department.

The fire reportedly began on Wednesday afternoon as smoke was seen showing from the top floors. An evacuation of the building was begun however other outlets report that some people were trapped on the roof.

Firefighters worked to contain the fire on the top floors. Helicopters called to the scene were hampered by the winds reports that one firefighter lost his footing on the ledge on the 23rd floor and fell to the street below.  The other two firefighters died while being trapped inside the building.

An official confirms that at least 13 people have been taken to a hospital for treatment.

The fire building has reportedly flagged in the past for being unsafe regarding maintenance.