Firefighter who fell to his death during Joburg building blaze laid to rest

Hundreds of people gathered on Friday at the Oasis Family Church in Daveyton to bid farewell to firefighter Simphiwe Moropane.

On Wednesday last week, the 29-year-old man fell to his death from the 23rd floor of the Bank of Lisbon Building in Johannesburg while fighting a fire that had broken out.

Moropane apparently broke the window while trying to get oxygen, but slipped out and fell to his death.

Among those attending his funeral were Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba, MMC Michael Sun, and other dignitaries. 

"Today’s funeral of our late firefighter was extremely well attended. It was an emotional service. It was also [our] wish that he gets a dignified send off, and he indeed got it," Sun said.

Sun said the city had a lot of issues that it needed to rectify regarding unsafe buildings following last week's fatal fire. 

He added the issue was not only a provincial matter, but was a concern nationally.  

"We vow that the life of Simphiwe will not be lost in vain and we continue to send our heartfelt condolences to the family," Sun said. 

Moropane is believed to be the first firefighter to have died last Wednesday. The other two firefighters - 40-year-old Mduduzi Ndlovu and 37-year-old Kathutshelo Muedi - are believed to have died from lack of oxygen after they became trapped in the building.

"We hope the family finds closure and we wish them strength during this very difficult time. We will continue being with them, offering our support to them every step of the way," Sun said. 

He added that the funerals of the other two firefighters would take place in Venda and in Newcastle over the weekend. 

Sun added that three firefighters who were injured while trying to put out the fire were still recovering in hospital.