Eleven people rescued from blaze at 'hijacked' Jhb building

Photo_web_fire_Jhb

The aftermath of a fire at a building in downtown Johannesburg on 1 August 2014.

The aftermath of a fire at a building in downtown Johannesburg on 1 August 2014.

Photo_web_fire_Jhb

The aftermath of a fire at a building in downtown Johannesburg on 1 August 2014.

The aftermath of a fire at a building in downtown Johannesburg on 1 August 2014.

JOHANNESBURG - Eleven people have been rescued from a burning building in Johannesburg&39;s city centre. 
 
Reports said residents had petrol-bombed the seven-storey building around Kerk Street, trapping suspected criminals inside. 
 
Robert Mulaudzi of Johannesburg emergency services could not confirm those allegations. But he did say that residents had tried to block rescue workers&39; entry. 
 
"When we arrived we couldn’t access the building since there was unrest from the people around the building, they actually barred us from going inside. We had to request services from the JMPD (Johannesburg Metro Police Department) and also SAPS."
 
"The area was cleared for us to move in. We managed to move in and extinguish the fire and in the process we managed to rescue about 11 people, of which those 11 people were treated for smoke inhalation."
 
eNCA&39;s Gareth Edwards spoke to residents who said they had trapped "criminal elements" inside the building after their concerns about these individuals fell on deaf ears.
 
"They&39;re calling people in the building criminal elements. They feel unsafe and say the municipality has done nothing," he said.