- A major fire has broken out in the South African Parliament in the tourist city of Cape Town. Dozens of firefighters are still battling the blaze on the third floor of Parliament House.
- Apparently the alarm system did not work. This only started when the fire brigade was already extinguishing.
- Security officials said no one was injured in the fire.
- The investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing – it is said that an arrest has been made.
According to Agence France-Presse, the fire broke out at night. In the morning, flames were visible from the outside – when the fire began to spread on the third floor of the building.
The provincial minister said the fire initially broke out in the back of the building complex that houses the old council room and the National Council of Provinces and after a few hours spread to the National Assembly building, where Parliament is. For Public Works and Infrastructure, Patricia de Lille.
She added that the roof of one of the buildings collapsed, while some walls of the government complex were cracked. Video footage showed thick black plumes of smoke rising from the building.
Parliament House is home to many national artifacts. As a member of the city’s security committee said, it remains unclear whether it was damaged as well.
Jean-Pierre Smith, a member of the Cape Town mayor’s security unit, said it was not immediately clear if there were people in the building. But according to the Cape Town Ambulance Service, there were no injuries. The investigation into the cause of the fire is still ongoing. According to President Cyril Ramaphosa, a 51-year-old man has been arrested and is being questioned.
At noon at the site, President Ramaphosa said, apparently, the fire alarms were not immediately triggered and the sprinkler system was not working properly. He is glad that this building, so important to democracy in South Africa, did not burn down completely.
However, it remains unclear when the historic building can be used again. Early in March, the building fell victim to a quickly contained fire, which also started from the oldest wings. Newer accessories were made in the 1920s and 80s.
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