#ICYMI – VIDEO: Benmore Gardens apartment catches on fire

An apartment at San Marino complex at number 22 Benmore Road, Morningside, caught alight on 8 January causing extensive damage to the entire unit and further damage to the unit above.

Chairperson of the body corporate Janine Mortimer said that the tenant’s four children and domestic worker were at home when the fire started. “It looks like an accident and we will have to wait for investigations to know the cause of the fire,” said Mortimer.

An apartment in San Marino complex at 22 Benmore Road caught alight during the morning on 8 January and caused extensive damage to the entire unit and spread to the apartment above. Photo: Sarah Koning

Domestic worker Flora Manda said she ran to the security guards at the complex with the four children as soon as she noticed smoke. “I felt very scared and told everyone. The security guards called the fire department and I would estimate that they took about 30 minutes to arrive. I think the fire began in one of the children’s rooms,” said Manda.

Security guard Stephen Mdau from CPS security said, “Flora ran to me screaming and said I should come and see the fire. When I arrived, there was smoke and the blaze had already begun. I ran around the complex shouting ‘Fire! Fire’ to notify everyone to evacuate their apartments. I called the fire department at 9.47am and they took quite a long time to arrive. I am not sure exactly when they arrived, but it definitely took longer than 15 minutes.”

The apartment in the San Marino complex at 22 Benmore Road was extensively damaged as a result of a fire that is thought to have started in a child’s bedroom. Photo: Sarah Koning

Mortimer, who was not on the scene when the fire started, said that the fire swept through the apartment in 15 minutes and the whole apartment was on fire when she arrived on the scene.

The Sandton Chronicle arrived on scene at 10.40am, when the fire department had already put out the flames. The tenants of the affected apartment were too traumatised to speak to the Sandton Chronicle.

Nana Radebe, City of Joburg Emergency Services spokesperson, said, “EMS recieved the call for structural fire at 9.50am and the first engine arrived on the scene at 10am. Four units were affected and no injuries or fatalities were reported. [The] fire safety [department] are still busy with their investigation regarding the cause of the fire.”


Flora Manda, the domestic worker from the apartment that caught alight, points to the damaged apartment. Photo: Sarah Koning



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Sarah Koning

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