Postmortems conducted on 74 victims of Joburg inner city blaze

The department of health in Gauteng has confirmed that postmortems have ben conducted on 74 bodies of the people who died in a blaze in central Johannesburg last week.

The postmortems took place at the Diepkloof Forensic Pathology Services mortuary. They included three people who died in the hospital.

In a statement, the department said police have also drawn DNA samples from 62 unidentifiable bodies with 13/13 antemortem swabbing taken from families.

“Antemortem samples are only being taken from the siblings or the parents of the deceased,” said the department.

“Once the samples are taken from the deceased and the family members, they will be cross-referenced to match them as part of linking families of the deceased to loved ones.

“To date, 69 families have presented at the facility to report their loved ones, which has resulted in a line list of 69 names that possibly perished in the fire being developed.”

It added that 10 families have identified their loved ones from 12 identifiable bodies, and seven have already been released to the families.

Once the families conclude the necessary processes and produce the required identification documents, the mortal remains are released for burial.

“The government continues to urge family members of the 62 unidentifiable deceased bodies from the Johannesburg inner city fire to present at the Gauteng Forensic Pathology Service mortuary in Diepkloof to assist with the process of identification.

“Counselling and support counselling services are provided on site at the Diepkloof government mortuary through the clergy and department’s psychologists.”

By Sunday, 31 people were still receiving care in the hospitals after 88 patients were admitted to various health facilities across the city last week.

More than 70 people have been confirmed dead from the fire including 13 children.

Police are investigating the cause of the blaze.


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