Joburg City Centre Still Without Electricity, Tunnel Fire Smouldering

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Most parts of the Johannesburg central business district were still without electricity Tuesday Morning as firefighters continued to battle an underground fire that cut off supply lines.

The fire broke out Monday morning in a tunnel. 

More than a day later, the Joburg Emergency Services (EMS) have not yet declared it safe for City Power technicians to attend to the fault.

Apart from the city centre, other areas without electricity include Selby, Wemmer, Village Deep, Park Central, and parts of Booysens.

“The fire, which started around 7h30 of Monday, is suspected to have damaged multiple cables that had been running in the underground tunnel between Johnware Substation in Fordsburg and Central Substation,” City Power Spokesperson Isaac Mangena.

“The EMS had on Monday evening made headway in containing most of the fire and had ventilated the smoke at the manhole access to underground tunnels at Ntemi Piliso and Anderson streets.”

Mangena said the site of the fire was effectively under the control of the EMS.

“City Power cannot do anything until the site has been declared safe,” said Mangena.

“We anticipate getting an all-clear to the site by Tuesday afternoon if all goes according to plan.”

Mangena said all affected areas will remain off until further notice.

“We urge customers affected to make other plans, especially business and industrial customers within the CBD and the industrial areas east of the city centre,” said Mngena.

“Traffic will also be affected especially during peak hours but the Joburg Metro Police remains in the area to assist.

“We are hoping to assess the extent of the damage to the cables and infrastructure, and the cost to do repairs from late on Tuesday.

“We will continue to update the customers on Tuesday and throughout the recovery, repairs, and restoration plans.

“We apologise to the customers affected for the inconvenience caused by this.”