Firefighters battled a blaze at South Africa’s national Parliament complex on Sunday that sent a dark plume of smoke and flames into the air above the center of Cape Town.
The fire started on the third floor of a building that houses offices and spread to the National Assembly building, where South Africa’s Parliament sits, Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure Patricia de Lille said.
• The inferno…at the South African Parliament Building
“The fire is currently in the National Assembly chambers,” De Lille said. “This is a very sad day for democracy for Parliament is the home of our democracy.”
City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue Service spokesman Jermaine Carelse said no injuries have been reported.
Security guards first reported the fire at around 6 a.m., he said, and 35 firefighters were on the scene.
Several hours after the blaze started in the legislative capital Cape Town, thick smoke was still pouring from one of the several buildings that make up the parliament complex.
Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia De Lille told reporters the blaze was under control. She said it was currently burning in the National Assembly chamber, but had been contained in other parts.
De Lille said there were no reports of any injuries in the fire.
The cause of the blaze was not yet known.
Initial reports indicated that the fire started in an office space and spread towards a gym, said Jean-Pierre Smith, a Cape Town mayoral committee member responsible for safety and security.
Source: Agency reports
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