Fire breaks out at Johannesburg hospital, nearly 700 patients being evacuated

Nearly 700 patients are being evacuated Saturday from Johannesburg’s Charlotte Maxeke Hospital, where a fire blazed overnight through parts of the facility in South Africa’s largest city.

No injuries or casualties have been reported. The fire has been contained but the hospital has been closed for seven days, said David Makhura, premier of Gauteng province where Johannesburg is located.

Four hundred patients have already been moved to other public hospitals in the metropolitan area and an additional 270 patients will be moved y the end of Saturday, Makhura said.

Early Saturday morning the fire caused the third floor of the hospital’s parking garage to collapse.

Sixty firefighters have been battling the blaze through the night. The fire started Friday morning and had been doused by the afternoon but then it reignited in the evening and continued burning overnight.

The fire has caused extensive damage to the hospital, which has more than 1,000 beds and serves Johannesburg, a city of 6 million people, and the surrounding Gauteng province. It is one of the biggest public hospitals in the country.

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