South Africa

Charlotte Maxeke’s second blaze in a string of fires to ravage SA hospitals

Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in Gauteng.

  • A little part of Charlotte Maxeke caught fire on Tuesday night.
  • This was the fourth fire to hit hospitals in Gauteng.
  • The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

The fire at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital on Tuesday night was the fourth fire to affect hospitals in Gauteng this year.

The fire started in the parking lot and was eventually extinguished.

However, there was no need to evacuate the patients.

Gauteng Health Department Motalatale Modiba said the fire started in one of the areas affected by the April 2021 fire at the same hospital.

In response to the latest fire, District Attorney Jack Bloom called for a thorough investigation.

“It is unbelievable that another fire could break out in this hospital, which spends 40 million rupees a year on security. A full investigation is needed and sabotage is definitely suspected,” he said.

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Gauteng hospitals have been hit by four fires this year.

“On May 30 this year, a fire broke out in a temporary building at the Steve Biko Hospital, and on June 12, a bed linen cupboard caught fire in the health department there.

“Two weeks ago, a fire broke out at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital near the Covid-19 tents and spread to the laundry room before it was put out,” he said.

Charlotte Maxeke recovers from the 2021 fire

Also, on the morning of Friday, April 16, 2021, a fire broke out in Charlotte Maxeke. It destroyed an estimated Rs 40 lakh worth of medical equipment, including syringes, masks and personal protective equipment (PPE).

Part of the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital that was damaged in a fire.

According to News24’s report at the time, the fire caused damage to some parts of the hospital, and more than 840 patients were evacuated.

Bloom said there are still no reports of the devastating fire.

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He said: “Many staff believe this was done deliberately to cover up evidence of corruption.”

In the past seven years, Bloom said there have been nine fires in Gauteng hospitals, in addition to an unexplained fire at the Gauteng Health Department headquarters that burned down the Bank of Lisbon building and killed three firefighters.

He said the lack of fire investigation reports increasingly looks like a cover-up, which is why the prosecutor’s office continues to push for its release.

He said:

We need answers from the Gauteng health department as to why there are so many fires and what they are doing to prevent them.

South African hospitals have been hit by fires in the past year.

In May this year, staff and patients were evacuated from two wards and the emergency department at Vredendal Hospital in the Western Cape after a fire broke out.

In September 2021, Christiana Hospital in the Northwest was destroyed by fire. A forensic investigation by the province’s health department determined the fire was caused by human error.

Christiana Hospital

A fire broke out at Christiana Northwestern Hospital.

In May of the same year, two patients, one of whom was serving a life sentence for rape, died when a fire broke out in a cubicle in the Covid-19 ward at FH Odendaal Hospital in Modimolle, Limpopo.

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In early February, more than R23 million worth of personal protective equipment was destroyed when a fire destroyed a warehouse at Carletonville Hospital.

Speaking to News24 last year after the fire at Christiana Hospital, Health MEC Madoda Sambatha said the hospital’s reconstruction was expected to be completed by the end of 2022.

Sambatha said that in the meantime, a temporary structure was being built that would include a three-bed 24-hour emergency department and a four-bed outpatient facility.

In addition, there would be a three-bed maternity ward, with four additional beds for postpartum and pregnancy care.

But on Wednesday, spokesperson Tebogo Lekgethwane said the temporary structure was not yet complete. He said that the material for the structure is expected in September.

He said it would be ready in November.

Lekgethwane said that patients are currently being transported by buses to nearby health facilities.

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Charlotte Maxeke’s second blaze in a string of fires to ravage SA hospitals

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