Tenants who live on the top floor were seen breaking windows to escape the angry fire.Some threw their furniture and clothing out of windows, while others jumped to avoid being eaten by the flames.
KORSTEN in Port Elizabeth was the scene of ruin yesterday morning when a busy two-storey market place went up in flames.
A witness said: “I was busy at my shop when I heard people screaming outside. I thought there might have been an accident.”
He said when he looked out the window, he saw smoke billowing from the building. He said he was shocked to see people jumping from the windows to save their lives.
“Others threw their clothes and furniture out of window,” he said.
Suleiman Abdi (29), a tenant, said: “I had already left my flat when the fire started. When I saw the smoke I rushed back to save my belongings but I was unlucky because the fire was too strong. I lost everything.
“I don’t know what caused it but it started on the top floor, where about 50 tenants live,” he said.
Suleiman said the bottom part of the building is used for shops such as a hair salon, a cellphone shop and a takeaway space.
Warrant Officer Alwin Labans, a police spokesman, said the fire broke out at about 6.30am at a building in Durban Road. He said its cause was still unknown.
“It’s been reported that some of the tenants broke the windows to jump from the burning building. No one was injured. Only 11 tenants were registered to live in the building but it appears more were living there.”