A massive fire blazed in a three storey building housing the South African Revenue Services’ Durban headquarters and two international call centres in Mount Edgecombe on the North Coast on Saturday, destroying millions of rands worth of property, equipment and documents.
The SARS office did not open today and it is unclear when it will reopen. Eye witnesses say everyone was safely evacuated after the fire broke out on the third floor at about 5.40pm, and the fire brigade battled for a few hours to bring down the raging inferno.
The divisional commander of the eThekwini fire service, Jesse Yasuda, said investigations were under way into the cause of the fire. He confirmed that the third floor was severely damaged and that the other parts of the building were only smoke and water damaged.
By midday yesterday the third shift of fire fighters was “conducting what they described as ‘damping down” of cupboards and desks that were still smouldering.
Call Centre International one, of the tenants at the office block, said it would move its 1500 workforce to operate at its other call centres in the city.
Police spokesperson Col Vincent Mdunge confirmed the fire at the building and that no one had been hurt. A forensic investigation would determine its cause.
This is the fourth major fire at a commercial property in three months in the city’s northern region.