UJ APK Fire Cause Remains Unknown

Students and staff in the morning received an email from the institution addressing the fire that was detected in early hours.

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By Zara Abrosie, Sinenhlanhla Ngweya & Valerie Nomsa Mncube (2 mins read)

University of Johannesburg (UJ) Spokesperson Herman Esterhuizen has confirmed that the reason for the fire, which took place at the UJ Auckland Park Kingsway Campus Wednesday morning, is still under investigation.

Students and staff received an email from the institution addressing a fire that was detected in the early hours of the morning. The fire started in the Core 5 facilities and affected the power supply in neighbouring areas.

The university communicated that the affected areas were D-Ring, D-Les, E-Ring, E-Les, Computer Laboratories, Student Affairs, Campus Health, Student Finance, SRC Offices and Chamber, Day Houses and the Student Centre, according to the second email from UJ to staff and students.

It communicated that all academic and administrative activities will resume on 1 August 2019. Lecture venues times and their access will continue as normal, excluding the Sanlam Auditorium that will remain closed.

Locked entrance to UJ APK Student Affairs department on Wednesday, 31st August 2019. Photo by: Sinenhlanhla Ngwenya.

Esterhuizen said that the affected areas are not completely unusable but rather have been taped off due to the abundance of harmful air given off from the fire and needs time to be cleared.

Several lectures were cancelled, leaving some students unsettled. Vuyokazi Shaweni, a second-year UJ student, expressed her frustration, “We are behind with politics and supposed to be submitting the first part of an essay.”

UJ Student Centre, which can be found at the tail end of the affected areas, was quiet. “Business was slow as we have no generator,” on-campus restaurant Pino’s owner Liz de Sousa said. She is afraid that the products in their cold room may spoil due to the power outage.

Additional on-campus businesses, such as Postnet, were also distressed by the fire. “Our swiping machines are not working, and this means more profit loss because students have been on holiday for the past 2 months,” Postnet junior manager Diyaana Yusuf said. TOJ

Reporting by Zara Abrosie, Sinenhlanhla Ngweya and Valerie Nomsa Mncube. Editing by Gaby Ndongo and Kupakwashe kambasha. Feature image accompanied by Taped off area toward UJ APK D Block lecture rooms and labs on Wednesday, 31st August 2019. Image by Sinenhlanhla Ngweya.

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