Johannesburg tower block blaze kills 3 fire crew

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A South African firefighter plunged to his death on Wednesday and two others died from smoke inhalation while battling a blaze at government offices in Johannesburg, officials said.

"There are currently three members of the City of Johannesburg Fire Department who have lost their lives," the regional development minister, Jacob Mamabolo, told reporters.

One of the firefighters plunged from the 23rd floor of the 24-storey building while trying to extinguish the flames, Michael Sun, the city's public safety chief, told AFP.

"One of our firefighters is believed to have slipped and fallen from the 23rd floor, and he has been confirmed dead," said Sun.

Police helicopters were deployed to help airlift firefighters trapped in the building which houses offices used by the health, local government and housing departments.

Eight other firefighters were hospitalised with various injuries including burns and two others remain trapped inside, according to officials.

"We are trying to get those firefighters who have been injured or suffered smoke inhalation out of the building," said Sun.

All of the civilians working in the building were evacuated, 13 of whom required treatment for smoke inhalation, he added.

© 2018 AFP

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