JOHANNESBURG (AP) – Hundreds of patients have been evacuated from Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in Johannesburg, where a fire has broken out in some parts of South Africa’s largest city.
No injuries or casualties were reported, and patients were being transferred to other state hospitals in the capital.
The third floor of the hospital garage collapsed due to a fire early Saturday morning.
Sixty firefighters battled the fire all night. The fire started on Friday morning, was extinguished during the day, but it was re-established in the evening, burning at night.
The fire severely damaged a hospital with more than 1,000 beds serving the city of Johannesburg, with a population of 6 million, and the neighboring state of Gauteng. It is one of the largest public hospitals in South Africa. It is also a special treatment center for COVID-19 in Gauteng.
According to officials, the fire broke out in a warehouse of dry surgical supplies.
“Our firefighters received help from others in the neighboring municipalities. It was a tedious process trying to transport patients. “At first we took them to wards far away from the fire, but we started evacuating them,” Gauteng Health spokeswoman Kwara Kecana told the Associated Press.
“It is still an ongoing process, we are now sending all patients to other hospitals,” Kekana said.