PICTURE/VIDEOS: GAUTENG PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT
By Thys Khiba
Johannesburg – The Gauteng Premier David Makhura has announced that Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital is closed for seven days after a fire ripped through some parts of the facility yesterday, on Friday night.
The announcement comes after Makhura has visited the hospital to assess the damage.
It was a battle Friday night for firefighters who have managed to control the fire until Saturday morning. It is reported that hundreds of patients were moved to other hospitals. Makhura and senior provincial government officials had a meeting with the management of the hospital on Saturday.
“As a result of an assessment by the CEO and head of clinical services, we unfortunately have to announce that we have to temporarily shut down Charlotte Maxeke for seven days. There was no loss of life as a result of the fire but we must take precautionary measures because the smoke coming out is headed to different wards.”
According to Makhura the temporary suspension of operations was not decided lightly and that was decided to ensure that the safety of patients and health care workers.
“At least 400 patients have been transferred to other hospitals. Firefighters were still pumping water into a section of a building trying to contain what was left of the blaze.”
About 270 patients still need to be moved. Gauteng Premier has also confirmed that one of the parking floors collapsed into the storeroom below it.
“Management will quantify the extent of the damage. The firefighters say the heat around the building is caused by materials that has been burnt, mostly plastic materials…some of them were highly priced medical consumables stored in here.”
“The fire is not in the wards. We advise people not to come here as of now as services are suspended. This hospital is shutdown. The best thing is that they go to other hospitals for care.”
The Democratic Alliance health spokesperson Jack Bloom confirms that speedy investigation into the cause of the fire should be authorised. “…but it raises questions about the adequacy of occupational safety measures at this hospital.” Bloom has strongly blamed the fire on poor and failed maintenance.